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Long-term psychotherapy best for complex disorders

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Psychotherapy lasting for at least a year is more effective than short-term therapy for patients with complex mental disorders, a study has shown.

Researchers pooled data from 23 studies, involving a total of 1,053 patients receiving long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy (LTPP).

Analysis indicated that after treatment with LTPP, patients with complex mental disorders such as personality disorders and chronic mental disorders, were better off than 96% of patients in comparison groups.

‘In this meta-analysis, LTPP was significantly superior to shorter-term methods of psychotherapy with regard to overall outcome, target problems, and personality functioning.

‘Long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy yielded large and stable effect sizes in the treatment of patients with personality disorders, multiple mental disorders, and chronic mental disorders.

‘The effect sizes for overall outcome increased significantly between end of therapy and follow-up.’

Further research was needed to evaluate cost-effectiveness of LTPP, authors added.

Journal of the American Medical Association (2008) 300:1551-1565

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Readers' comments (2)

  • I would like to learn more about mental health problems .To be able to deal with people with mental health issues at work .

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  • In my experience this type of therapy has never really yielded any great outcomes for the client apart from regular contact.

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