7 June 2012 Last updated at 20:45 ET
Cardiff University researchers used MRI scanners to show eight people how their brains reacted to positive imagery.
After four sessions of the therapy the participants had seen significant improvements in their depression.
Another eight who were asked to think positively but did not see brain images as they did so showed no change.
The researchers said they believed the MRI scans allowed participants to work out, through trial and error, which sort of positive emotional imagery was most effective.
The technique – known as neurofeedback – has already had some success in helping people with Parkinson’s disease.
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