Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Supporters Rejoice with Release of Meta-Study

One of the most popular forms of treatment for depression, anxiety, and related concerns has traditionally been that of psychotherapy, and psychodynamic psychotherapy, which borrows from many schools of thought and places a particular emphasis on exploring emotions and patterns of behavior, is among the most popular types of therapy administered to clients. Still, there are many critics of psychodynamic treatment who have voiced their preference for other approaches to psychological concerns, and the quest to address these objections with clear and in-depth scientific research has been slow yet earnest. Recently, the journal American Psychologist published a study that incorporates the work of several other studies performed on psychodynamic psychotherapy, and which provides significant evidence for the efficacy of this treatment both during session periods and in the long term.

The study was met with significant zeal from professionals hoping for a greater attention to scientific research within the field, and the work may help therapists reach a greater number of people with their work through increased awareness of the potential benefits of treatment. Dubbed a “meta-study,” the research examined the results of other projects aimed at ascertaining whether treatment had a positive effect, and for how long; comparing the results and placing them within a unified context yielded the conclusion that psychodynamic psychotherapy is a viable response to some psychological concerns, and may prove beneficial well into the future –up to three years of follow-up results were tracked.

As the scientific momentum picks up in relation to psychodynamic treatment and other therapies, researchers are exploring the experience of empathy in sessions and delving into challenging like the client-therapist relationship, all of which are bound to help shed more light on what has long been held by some as a promising source of help for many of those in need.

© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Beck W

    Beck W

    February 25th, 2010 at 10:44 AM

    seems like studies like this could be very unifying. . . helping to bring the differing schools of thought together for the greater good

  • Samuel


    February 25th, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    You can’t argue with well researched information from a reputable source. Talk therapy has always been the most logical approach in my book. I find it amusing that psychotherapists will quibble over whose approach is best. Maybe they need to make their own appointments to discuss their ego issues. ;)

  • Harriet R.

    Harriet R.

    February 25th, 2010 at 12:53 PM

    Each wants to retain and grow their own client base, I’m sure. Why would you admit to thinking a different method to your own could be equally or even more successful? It’s business suicide.

  • Mike


    February 25th, 2010 at 1:11 PM

    Right, Samuel… A few months ago I read about a CBT-therapist who was attacking psychodynamic therapy (the new hype now in psychotherapy research). About the arrogance of the psychodynamic therapist who is doing something that is not scientifically proven and the well known blah blah blah… It was the first thought that came into my mind: ‘who is showing arrogance here’?
    It confronted me with the arrogance of this CBT therapist who believed that what he is doing is the only way to do science, that it is the only scientific proven therapy and that all the other bonafide forms of psychotherapy are rubbish. Ignoring the many meta-analyses in which is shown that also other forms of bonafide psychotherapies (psychodynamic, experiential) are effective, at least as effective as CBT, sometimes more effective, sometimes less. And ignoring the many studies in which is scientifically proven that the ‘common factors’ are the most important factors in psychotherapy. So, I really hope this bias of thinking of too many CBT-researchers (who are specialists in detecting a bias of thinking) will be corrected soon. So we can start to think about: ‘what sort of therapy works best for what sort of client’, instead of: CBT for all clients (like in Great- Britain)



    February 25th, 2010 at 1:40 PM

    It is always pleasing to see improvements in treatment methods and their celebration as this is always something that is very beneficial to scores of people.

  • Ray Jennings

    Ray Jennings

    February 26th, 2010 at 6:45 AM

    We need newer and improved medication and therapy techniques as we move ahead and encounter newer problems…old methods may have been sufficient at the time of their innovation but newer challenges need newer weapons and we must also look to develop existing methods so as to deliver maximum benefit.

  • Lacey


    February 26th, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    “Each wants to retain and grow their own client base, I’m sure. Why would you admit to thinking a different method to your own could be equally or even more successful? It’s business suicide.”

    I don’t think you can explain that from such a simplistic corporate-like standpoint, Harriet. There are hearts and minds involved here, not burger and fries! I feel it’s more a loyalty to and respect for the therapeutic path of their choosing.

  • Jeremy K.

    Jeremy K.

    February 26th, 2010 at 9:24 PM

    whatever the method followed, what is important is the end result and that is the recovery of the client…debating about which method is best is a no-brainer…finding better methods and proving it through results is the good way ahead…

  • Fletcher


    February 27th, 2010 at 10:44 AM

    One important thing that I read in this report pleased me a lot…it is that the study also considered as to for how long the treatment was effective, that is if it initially cured the person and then reoccured or whether it was a good permanent treatment…this is also an important aspect in the medical filed, but is often ignored by most people…because a good method of treatment is not one that just meets with temporary success but is one which maintains the success over a period of time.

  • LaScala


    February 27th, 2010 at 7:26 PM

    I can understand their reticence in acknowledging the success of alternative therapy offerings to their own from the business point of view. But I feel many therapists got into the role not for the money, but because they wanted to help heal the hurts and wounds of vulnerable people. Am I naive? I sincerely hope not. That’s what I’d like to believe.

  • Teach


    February 27th, 2010 at 10:34 PM

    Cooperation and mutual respect is always better than animosity and hidden agendas. All sides can remain honorable and hold their professional colleagues in esteem, whether they advocate psychodynamic psychotherapy or not.

  • andrew butler

    andrew butler

    February 28th, 2010 at 4:49 AM

    there may be varying methods and techniques of medication used by different professionals and the common person may not be very sure about which method he should go with.thus the best way would be to have a forum where people can learn about all the methods and then choose the best one for them…

  • Katherine


    February 28th, 2010 at 7:38 PM

    There are as many differences in clients and psychotherapists as there are ways to work with those clients. We should be glad that there are options! Therapy never has been and never shall be a one-stop shop where 100% success is guaranteed by a single approach. Having choice is vital to the patient’s chance of recovery and recuperation.

  • Paige


    February 28th, 2010 at 9:56 PM

    Therapists shouldn’t be too proud to accept that sometimes, their way isn’t always the right way for that individual, and be open to referring them elsewhere. Any therapist that genuinely had their client’s best interests at heart would do so in a heartbeat if their relationship was yielding very little or no progress after a long time.

  • anne mary

    anne mary

    March 1st, 2010 at 12:55 PM

    a good medical professional is not the one who has overconfidence in his method of treatment but one who is willing to adjust and explore newer methods to suit the patient and whose ultimate goal is totally curing the patient.

  • Katherine


    March 1st, 2010 at 8:31 PM

    Speaking from a business point of view, surely that referral would also offer the benefits of networking that you get in any business arrangement. Are there ethical or patient concerns as to why a therapist shouldn’t do that perhaps? I would think therapists would welcome the interaction with their peers.

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