Toward a working through of some core conflicts in psychotherapy research.

Center for Psychotherapy Research, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3309, USA.
Psychotherapy Research (Impact Factor: 1.75). 02/2009; 19(1):1-12. DOI: 10.1080/10503300802609680
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The author discusses the evidence for six basic statements that many, but not all, psychotherapy researchers adhere to: (1) The therapeutic alliance has a causal role in outcome, (2) therapeutic techniques explain patients' outcome, (3) therapists determine outcome, (4) patients determine therapy outcome, (5) randomized controlled trials (RCTs) provide valuable data, (6) data from RCTs are almost worthless. These "truths" combine to form three core conflicts: Is psychotherapy about the alliance or techniques? Does the patient or therapist determine the outcome? Are RCTs a blessing or a curse? After showing that these statements oversimplify the research of the therapeutic process, the author recommends keeping both sides of the conflict in awareness and endorses a pluralistic methodological approach for the study of both efficacy and the mechanisms of psychotherapy.
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