Choosing your Psychotherapist Alyssa Conley Trevor Wolff Robert Quigley Aaron Perez What is Psychotherapy? Therapy for psychological problems Previous research demonstrating the effectiveness of particular methods has been generally weak and unscientific. **Imagine you are experiencing a difficult emotional time in your life and seeking psychotherapy. Or, imagine that you are treating a patient with emotional pathologies and wanted to treat the patient the most efficient way possible.** Which method of psychotherapy is the best? Most of the related studies are spread throughout multiple journals, which makes it difficult to make accurate comparisons between the different methods of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy Methods • The behavioral modification method and the systematic desensitization method both treat specific problems using classical and operant conditioning techniques to elimination • Humanistic, psychodynamic, and cognitive methods focus on basic life improvement and overall anxiety relief The Smith and Glass Study (1977) • Smith and Glass compared over 500 studies testing the variable effectiveness of the meta-analysis method - a method of statistical analysis which integrates individual studies into a more meaningful whole • Their goal was to compare the effectiveness of several treatment methods using psychotherapy, and to see if psychotherapy works at all • Effectiveness was based on patient self-report studies before and after the therapy The variables tested were anxiety reduction, self-esteem, overall adjustment, and school/work achievement Sucessful Treatment vs. Non-treatment control group 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Anxiety Reduction Self-esteem Overall Adjustment School or Work Achievement Results from Smith/Glass Study Effectiveness of Therapy Methods 100 P=Psychoanalysis T=Transactional analysis 80 R=Rational-emotive therapy 60 C=Client-centered therapy 40 S=Systematic desensitization B=Behavior modification 20 I=Imposion therapy 0 P T R C S B I • All methods were relatively equal in effectiveness • Results shocked psychologists because, prior to the study, they believed their methods were superior • Systematic-desensitization, developed by Wolpe, stood out from the others in its effectiveness in treatment of phobias Effects and Applications of the Study It caused psychologists to move toward a more eclectic approach to psychotherapy since psychologists no longer believed their method was the only one that worked They applied the method of meta-analysis to test the effectiveness of various methods of alcohol abuse treatment, and the effectiveness of health strategies used to encourage high-risk patients to get flu vaccinations The new testing techniques in the effectiveness of psychological methods discovered that “talk techniques” were causing more harm then good with adolescent teens. Discussion Questions After hearing about the study, would you go to a psychotherapist using one method of therapy, or multiple methods? Did you think that all methods are equally effective before you heard about the study? Why do you think there are no differences in effectiveness between the methods? What else do you think this study, or the meta analysis method could be applied to? Do you think the study could have been flawed based on the time between studies or the reliability of self-report data?