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Dose–effect relationship data suggest that short-term psychotherapy is
insufficient for many patients with chronic distress or personality
disorders (complex mental disorders).
To examine the comparative efficacy of long-term psychodynamic
psychotherapy (LTPP) in complex mental disorders.
We conducted a meta-analysis of controlled trials of LTPP fulfilling the
following inclusion criteria: therapy lasting for at least a year or 50
sessions; active comparison conditions; prospective design; reliable and
valid outcome measures; treatments terminated. Ten studies with 971
patients were included.
Between-group effect sizes in favour of LTPP compared with less intensive
(lower dose) forms of psychotherapy ranged between 0.44 and 0.68.
Results suggest that LTPP is superior to less intensive forms of
psychotherapy in complex mental disorders. Further research on long-term
psychotherapy is needed, not only for psychodynamic psychotherapy, but
also for other therapies.
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