Deakin University

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Short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy: review of recent process and outcome studies

journal contribution
posted on 2008-01-01, 00:00 authored by Andrew Lewis, M Dennerstein, P Gibbs
Short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy (STPP) is a widely practised form of psychological intervention. Given that the Roth and Fonagy (1996) review concluded that there was a lack of confirming evidence for STPP, the current review is focused on studies published between 1996 and 2006 that evaluate the efficacy of STPP. As a result of a systematic literature review, 18 studies were found that met inclusion criteria consistent with those used by Roth and Fonagy (1996) for selection of studies, patient groupings and definition of therapeutic method. In general these studies add to an increasing body of evidence suggesting that STPP can be an effective psychological treatment for individuals experiencing mental health problems. Specifically, for depression STPP can be equal in effects to other psychological treatments and is significantly better than no treatment in the short term. Furthermore, emerging process data indicate that there is a significant relationship between the use of specific psychodynamic therapeutic techniques and the alleviation of depressive symptoms. Increasing evidence has emerged to support STPP as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder and some personality disorders. There remains limited evidence for the use of STPP treatment for patients with anxiety disorders that relate more to stress. Very limited and inconclusive evidence currently exists to support STPP as a treatment for bipolar disorder, eating disorders and drug dependency. Future research needs to include broader assessment measures, long-term follow up, studies that maintain an identifiable focus, and research that includes a focus on psychotherapy process variables as they interact with outcomes.



Australian and New Zealand journal of psychiatry






445 - 455


Informa Healthcare


London, England







Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2008, The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists