Psychodynamic Therapy – A Guide to Evidence-Based Practice


image courtesy of Christian Meyn at

by Richard F. Summer and Jacques P. Barber,

2010 The Guildford Press 

p. 14  “The evidence-based approach to psychotherapy research has, under the influence of the NIMH and pharmaceutical companies, focused on patients with a clear-cut primary phenomenological diagnosis such as phobias, panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or depression.  This contributes to the dearth of psychodynamic therapy studies.  Many psychodynamic therapists do not pay close attention to the phenomenology of Axis I disorders.  Instead, they base their treatment interventions on psychodynamic formulations that include the phenomenological data along with other variables such as self-esteem, relationships, and life cycle issues.  Because psychodynamic treatments focus relatively less on symptoms and more on other aspects of well-being and mental functioning, then assessing only symptoms may underestimate the efficacy of treatment.

Grants submitted to study the efficacy of psychodynamic therapy often meet an additional hurdle.  They must justify why we should study the efficacy of the treatment when we already know that CBT is effective.  By missing the boat to be first treatment to show efficacy, it is more difficult to gain the resources to meet this standard for subsequent treatments.”

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