Psychotherapy Effectiveness

Here’s the latest scientific statement from the American Psychological Association — it can give strong  support to folks wondering whether good research supports positive outcomes in psychotherapy.

Effects and Effectiveness of Psychotherapy”   American Psychological Association Committee  8/2012

“Every day, consumers are bombarded with ads that tout drugs as the answer to their problems,” said Vasquez. “Our goal is to help consumers weigh those messages with research-based information about how psychotherapy can provide them with safe, effective and long-lasting improvements in their mental and physical health.” The resolution cites more than 50 peer-reviewed studies on psychotherapy and its effectiveness in treating a spectrum of health issues and with a variety of populations, including children, members of minority groups and the elderly (To read a press release about the resolution and link to its full text go to


The resolution also states that psychotherapy is effective for a variety of behavioral health issues and among various population groups, and that the average effects of psychotherapy are greater than those of many medical interventions. Large multi-site and meta-analytic studies have demonstrated that psychotherapy reduces disability, morbidity and mortality; improves work functioning; and decreases psychiatric hospitalization. In addition, the resolution notes that psychotherapy teaches patients life skills that last beyond the course of treatment.

Furthermore, while the resolution recognizes that in some instances the best treatment is a combination of medication and psychotherapy, the results of psychotherapy tend to last longer than psychopharmacological treatments and rarely produce harmful side effects.

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