Choosing your Psychotherapist Alyssa Conley Trevor Wolff

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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?

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