Research finds psychoanalysis effective for patients with complex mental disorders

by Communications Staff

October 23, 2008 — A meta-analysis of studies published between January 1, 1960 and May 31, 2008, combined with interviews with field experts, has demonstrated the effectiveness of psychodynamic psychotherapy.

Falk Leichensring, DSc, and Sven Rabung, PhD, reported their results in the October 1 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Drs. Leichensring and Rabung, both of Germany, considered 23 studies of a total of 1,053 patients who underwent individual psychodynamic psychotherapy for a minimum of one year or 50 sessions. The patients had sought psychoanalysis for mental health disorders such as severe depression.

Media attention included coverage by The New York Times, which quoted Dr. Leichensring as saying the patients studied "showed significant, large and stable treatment effects which even significantly increased between the end of treatment and follow-up assessment."

The JAMA article, "Effectiveness of Long-Term Psychodynamic Psychotherapy," can be purchased on the website of the American Medical Association.