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Benefits of psychodynamic psychotherapy




Psychodynamic psychotherapy is effective for a wide range of mental health symptoms, including depression, anxiety, panic and stress-related physical ailments, and the benefits of the treatment grow after therapy has ended, as per new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Psychodynamic treatment focuses on the psychological roots of emotional suffering. Its hallmarks are self-reflection and self-examination, and the use of the relationship between therapist and patient as a window into problematic relationship patterns in the patient's life. Its goal is not only to alleviate the most obvious symptoms but to help people lead healthier lives.



Benefits of psychodynamic psychotherapy

"The American public has been told that only newer, symptom-focused therapys like cognitive behavior treatment or medicine have scientific support," said study author Jonathan Shedler, PhD, of the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine. "The actual scientific evidence shows that psychodynamic treatment is highly effective. The benefits are at least as large as those of other psychotherapies, and they last." .

To reach these conclusions, Shedler evaluated eight meta-analyses comprising 160 studies of psychodynamic treatment, plus nine meta-analyses of other psychological therapys and antidepressant medications. Shedler focused on effect size, which measures the amount of change produced by each therapy. An effect size of 0.80 is considered a large effect in psychological and medical research. One major meta-analysis of psychodynamic treatment included 1,431 patients with a range of mental health problems and found an effect size of 0.97 for overall symptom improvement (the treatment was typically once per week and lasted less than a year). The effect size increased by 50 percent, to 1.51, when patients were re-reviewed nine or more months after treatment ended. The effect size for the most widely used antidepressant medications is a more modest 0.31. The findings appear in the recent issue of American Psychology expert, the flagship journal of the American Psychological Association.

The eight meta-analyses, representing the best available scientific evidence on psychodynamic treatment, all showed substantial therapy benefits, as per Shedler. Effect sizes were impressive even for personality disordersdeeply ingrained maladaptive traits that are notoriously difficult to treat, he said. "The consistent trend toward larger effect sizes at follow-up suggests that psychodynamic psychotherapy sets in motion psychological processes that lead to ongoing change, even after treatment has ended," Shedler said. "In contrast, the benefits of other 'empirically supported' therapies tend to diminish over time for the most common conditions, like depression and generalized anxiety." .

"Pharmaceutical companies and health insurance companies have a financial incentive to promote the view that mental suffering can be reduced to lists of symptoms, and that therapy means managing those symptoms and little else. For some specific psychiatric conditions, this makes sense," he added. "But more often, emotional suffering is woven into the fabric of the person's life and rooted in relationship patterns, inner contradictions and emotional blind spots. This is what psychodynamic treatment is designed to address." .

Shedler acknowledged that there are a number of more studies of other psychological therapys (other than psychodynamic), and that the developers of other therapies took the lead in recognizing the importance of rigorous scientific assessment. "Accountability is crucial," said Shedler. "But now that research is putting psychodynamic treatment to the test, we are not seeing evidence that the newer therapies are more effective."

Shedler also noted that existing research does not adequately capture the benefits that psychodynamic treatment aims to achieve. "It is easy to measure change in acute symptoms, harder to measure deeper personality changes. But it can be done."

The research also suggests that when other psychotherapies are effective, it appears to be because they include unacknowledged psychodynamic elements. "When you look past treatment 'brand names' and look at what the effective therapists are actually doing, it turns out they are doing what psychodynamic therapists have always donefacilitating self-exploration, examining emotional blind spots, understanding relationship patterns." Four studies of treatment for depression used actual recordings of treatment sessions to study what therapists said and did that was effective or ineffective. The more the therapists acted like psychodynamic therapists, the better the outcome, Shedler said. "This was true regardless of the kind of treatment the therapists believed they were providing." .


Posted by: JoAnn    Source




Did you know?
Psychodynamic psychotherapy is effective for a wide range of mental health symptoms, including depression, anxiety, panic and stress-related physical ailments, and the benefits of the treatment grow after therapy has ended, as per new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Medicineworld.org: Benefits of psychodynamic psychotherapy

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