In 2008, Falk Leichsenring, DSc, and Sven Rabung, PhD, published a meta-analysis on the “Effectiveness of Long-term Psychodynamic Psychotherapy” in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA, 2008; 300(13): 1551-1565, doi:10.1001/jama.300.13.1551).
The authors start their enquiry by questioning the controversial status of psychoanalysis and psychodynamic treatment in mainstream psychiatry. Although proof for efficiency of short-term psychodynamic therapy has already been acquired for specific disorders, long-term therapy seemed unable to provide anything better than disputed proof.
Leichsenring and Rabung claim to provide this lacking evidence for outcome effectiveness of long term psychodynamic psychotherapy. Their meta-anlaysis of outcome studies published between January 1960 and May 2008 shows that “comparative analyses of controlled trials, LTPP showed significantly higher outcomes in overall effectiveness, target problems, and personality functioning than shorter forms of psychotherapy. With regard to overall effectiveness, a between-group effect size of 1.8 […] indicated that after treatment with LTPP patients with complex mental disorders on average were better off than 96% of the patients in the comparison groups (P=.002). According to subgroup analyses, LTPP yielded significant, large, and stable within-group effect sizes across various and particularly complex mental disorders (range, 0.78-1.98).”
Free access to the paper can be found here: http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/300/13/1551.full