The effectiveness of long-term psychoanalytic therapy: A systematic review of empirical studies.

S. de Maat, F. de Jonghe, R.A. Schoevers, J.J.M. Dekker

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Background: There is a gap in the research literature on the effectiveness of long-term psychoanalytic
therapies (LPT). Aim: To present a systematic review of studies dealing with LPT effectiveness and
published from 1970 onward. Methods: A systematic literature search for studies dealing with the
effectiveness of individual LPT in ambulatory, adult patients. Data about the overall effectiveness
of LPT, its impact on symptom reduction, and its effect on personality changes were pooled both at
treatment termination and at follow-up, using effect sizes (ESs) and success rates. Results:We found
27 studies (n= 5063). Psychotherapy yielded large mean ESs (0.78 at termination; 0.94 at follow-up)
and high mean overall success rates (64% at termination; 55% at follow-up) in moderate/mixed
pathology. The mean ES was larger for symptom reduction (1.03) than for personality change
(0.54). In severe pathology, the results were similar. Psychoanalysis achieved large mean ESs (0.87
at termination; 1.18 at follow-up) and high mean overall success rates (71% at termination; 54% at
follow-up) in moderate pathology. The mean ES for symptom reduction was larger (1.38) than for
personality change (0.76). Conclusion: Our data suggest that LPT is effective treatment for a large
range of pathologies, with moderate to large effects. (HARV REV PSYCHIATRY 2009;17:1–23.)
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalHarvard Review of Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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