New Literature Reviews published

PACFA is pleased to announce the publication of another two literature reviews in the series of reviews being produced on the effectiveness of a range of counselling and psychotherapy modalities.

The effectiveness of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy: A literature review of recent international and Australian research, by Dr Cadeyrn J. Gaskin, Gaskin Research. Click to download.

The effectiveness of body-oriented psychotherapy, by Alexandra Bloch-Atefi and Julie Smith. Click to download.

The effectiveness of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy: A literature review of recent international and Australian research

The purpose of this review was to determine the effectiveness of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Evidence from a small number of studies provides tentative support for the effectiveness of psychoanalysis in the treatment of patients with some depressive, anxiety, and personality disorders. The variable quality of this research, and the absence of control conditions in most studies, however, means that making more definitive statements about the effectiveness of psychoanalysis difficult at this time. The findings of studies on long-term psychoanalytic psychotherapy suggest that (a) favourable outcomes may be able to be achieved for people with a range of conditions, including mood, anxiety, sexual dysfunction, and personality disorders; (b) the outcomes achieved seem to be equivalent to those gained through the use of other psychotherapies; and (c) the effects of long-term psychoanalytic psychotherapy may endure long after the termination of treatment. Short-term psychoanalytic psychotherapy may be effective for the treatment of depressive disorders.

Given that researchers often use the terms psychoanalytic and psychodynamic interchangeably, however, practitioners should be cognisant of the work on the effectiveness of psychodynamic psychotherapies. This work is supportive of the use of psychodynamic psychotherapy for depressive disorders, some anxiety disorders (most notably, generalised anxiety disorder), somatic symptoms and some somatoform disorders (e.g., hypochondriasis), and some personality disorders (mainly borderline and Cluster C personality disorders). The benefits of psychoanalytic and psychodynamic psychotherapies typically seem to endure well beyond the termination of treatment. In general, the outcomes achieved with these treatments appear to be equivalent to those gained through other psychotherapies.

For a variety of reasons (e.g., the challenges associated with researching treatments that occur over long periods of time) there has been insufficient research conducted on the effectiveness of these psychotherapies, especially psychoanalysis. More research is required to strengthen the evidence base on the effectiveness of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy.

The effectiveness of body-oriented psychotherapy

The purpose of this literature review was to review research into the effectiveness of body-oriented and somatic psychotherapies.

The international effectiveness studies on body-oriented psychotherapy interventions were predominantly European and American. Modalities included breathwork, relaxation therapies, sensorimotor psychotherapy, somatic experiencing, affect-focused body-psychotherapy, body awareness and body-oriented group therapy, body-oriented group psychotherapy and touch therapies. Progress has been made by the UK National Institute of Health and Care Excellence in incorporating body-oriented psychotherapy in the guidelines for treatment of schizophrenia (Röhricht, 2009).

Body-oriented psychotherapy interventions have been demonstrated to be effective with different populations and settings (Loew, Tritt, Lahmann & Röhricht, 2006; Röhricht, 2009). However, in comparison with established modalities such as EMDR, Mindfulness-based therapy and acupoint stimulation, body-oriented psychotherapy interventions require further empirical research to be deemed effective according to the APA standards. A difficulty in standardising treatments and comparing effectiveness is that body-oriented psychotherapy includes a range of different approaches and protocols.