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Toward a working through of some core conflicts in psychotherapy research

Jacques P Barber
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...
January 2009: Psychotherapy Research: Journal of the Society for Psychotherapy Research
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