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Psychother Psychosom. 2010 Jun;79(4):208-16. doi: 10.1159/000313689. Epub 2010 Apr 29.

Is longer-term psychodynamic psychotherapy more effective than shorter-term therapies? Review and critique of the evidence.

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  • 1Faculty of Life and Social Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia. sbhar@swin.edu.au

Erratum in

  • Psychother Psychosom. 2010 Jun;79(4):216.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In 2008, Leichsenring and Rabung performed a meta-analysis of 8 studies of longer-term psychodynamic psychotherapy (LTPP). The work was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (vol. 300, pp 1551-1565), and they concluded that LTPP was more effective than shorter-term therapies.

METHOD:

Given that such claims have the potential to influence treatment decisions and policies, we re-examined the meta-analysis and the 8 studies.

RESULTS:

We found a miscalculation of the effect sizes used to make key comparisons. Claims for the effectiveness of LTPP depended on a set of small, underpowered studies that were highly heterogeneous in terms of patients treated, interventions, comparison-control groups, and outcomes. LTPP was compared to 12 types of comparison-controls, including control groups that did not involve any psychotherapy, short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy, and unvalidated treatments. Additionally, the studies failed to protect against threats to bias, and had poor internal validity.

CONCLUSION:

Overall, we found no evidence to support claims of superiority of LTPP over shorter-term methods of psychotherapy.

Copyright 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Comment in

PMID:
20424498
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2889262
Free PMC Article
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