Evidence-base for Psychotherapy

A European colleague, Robert Johansson PhD, has called my attention to a very new review (published online March 28, but I don’t know have the address) on the Empirical Status of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, by Leibsenring et al in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.  My friend says this is a prestigious European journal and sent a pdf, Leichsenring2015ESTreview ,which I am reproducing here.  The citation is Psychother Psychosom 2015;84:129–148 DOI: 10.1159/000376584

the abstract:


Background: The Task Force on Promotion and Dissemina- tion of Psychological Procedures proposed rigorous criteria to define empirically supported psychotherapies. According to these criteria, 2 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) showing efficacy are required for a treatment to be designated as ‘efficacious’ and 1 RCT for a designation as ‘possibly efficacious’. Applying these criteria modified by Chambless and Hollon, this article presents an update on the evidence for psychodynamic therapy (PDT) in specific mental disorders. Methods: A systematic search was performed using the criteria by Chambless and Hollon for study selection, as follows: (1) RCT of PDT in adults, (2) use of reliable and valid measures for diagnosis and outcome, (3) use of treatment manuals or manual-like guidelines, (4) adult population treated for specific problems and (5) PDT superior to no treatment, placebo or alternative treatment or equivalent to an established treatment. Results: A total of 39 RCTs were included. Following Chambless and Hollon, PDT can presently be designated as efficacious in major depressive disorder (MDD), social anxiety disorder, borderline and heterogeneous personality dis- orders, somatoform pain disorder, and anorexia nervosa. For MDD, this also applies to the combination with pharmaco-therapy. PDT can be considered as possibly efficacious in dysthymia, complicated grief, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and substance abuse/dependence. Evidence is lacking for obsessive-compulsive, posttraumatic stress, bipolar and schizophrenia spectrum disorder(s). Conclusions: Evidence has emerged that PDT is efficacious or possibly efficacious in a wide range of common mental dis- orders. Further research is required for those disorders for which sufficient evidence does not yet exist.

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