Effectiveness of Therapeutic Approaches

At the center of psychoteraputic debate today, particularly in the context of managed care, is the question of how one measures effectiveness of outcome -- or whether, indeed, that is even a metric that can or should be meaningfully quantified.

The subsections under this heading each highlight articles of significance on the question of effectiveness and its evaluation.


American Psychological Association (2012).
Recognition of Psychotherapy Effectiveness.


WHEREAS: psychotherapy is rooted in and enhanced by a therapeutic alliance between therapist and client/patient that involves a bond between the psychologist and the client/patient as well as agreement about the goals and tasks of the treatment

WHEREAS: … That is, variations in outcome are more heavily influenced by patient characteristics e.g., chronicity, complexity, social support, and intensity—and by clinician and context factors than by particular diagnoses or specific treatment “brands”

WHEREAS: the results of psychotherapy tend to last longer and be less likely to require additional treatment courses than psychopharmacological treatments

WHEREAS: comparisons of different forms of psychotherapy most often result in relatively nonsignificant difference, and contextual and relationship factors often mediate or moderate outcomes. These findings suggest that (1) most valid and structured psychotherapies are roughly equivalent in effectiveness and (2) patient and therapist characteristics, which are not usually captured by a patient’s diagnosis or by the therapist's use of a specific psychotherapy, affect the results

THEREFORE: Be It Resolved that, as a healing practice and professional service, psychotherapy is effective and highly cost-effective. In controlled trials and in clinical practice, psychotherapy results in benefits that markedly exceed those experienced by individuals who need mental health services but do not receive psychotherapy. Consequently, psychotherapy should be included in the health care system as an established evidence-based practice.

Read entire resolution on APA.org