There are measures in place to help improve progress made in psychotherapy. Some of these methods include reviewing recorded sessions, using manual-based strategies, and even having supervision to ensure treatment efficacy. All of these are known as research-specific procedures. However, some clinicians question the validity and use of such procedures and prefer to continue practicing in less structured environments, despite the fact specific psychotherapy methods have been shown to be highly effective. To get a better idea of the benefits of research-specific procedures, Joel M. Town of the Department of Psychiatry at Dalhousie University in Canada recently conducted an analysis of existing psychodynamic psychotherapy trials involving more than 1,600 clients. The 46 trials included studies that incorporated research-specific procedures and studies that did not.
Town found that although there was no difference in the gains made pre- to post-treatment in those that did or did not use research procedures, those that did had significantly better outcomes at follow-up 12 months later. This suggests that for issues such as depression and anxiety, techniques such as reviewing recorded sessions may have a long-term impact on behaviors and attitudes that can carry over into overall well-being. The continuing impact on everyday life can be quite significant, a result of incorporating these research-specific procedures during treatment. “Research efforts should pay attention to the longer-term effects of audio/video review both for treatment outcome as well as therapist training and development of treatment competencies,” Town said.
This study does have its limitations, including the fact more recent trials may not have been included. Additionally, the subgroups examined in this most recent research may not have been used to isolate certain aspects of every existing study, which could have influenced the outcomes. Despite these shortcomings, Town’s findings show that the use of research-specific procedures can dramatically improve long-term outcomes of psychodynamic psychotherapy and that clinicians and therapists who are hesitant to incorporate these methods may have cause to reconsider.
Town, Joel M., Marc J. Diener, Allan Abbass, Falk Leichsenring, Ellen Driessen, and Sven Rabung. A meta-analysis of psychodynamic psychotherapy outcomes: Evaluating the effects of research-specific procedures. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research & Practice 49.3 (2012): 276-90. Print.
© Copyright 2012 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.