The outcome of psychotherapy: yesterday, today, and tomorrow

Psychotherapy (Chic). 2013 Mar;50(1):88-97. doi: 10.1037/a0031097.


In 1963, the first issue of the journal Psychotherapy appeared. Responding to findings reported in a previous publication by Eysenck (1952), Strupp wrote of the "staggering research problems" (p. 2) confronting the field and the necessity of conducting "properly planned an executed experimental studies" to resolve questions about the process and outcome of psychotherapy. Today, both the efficacy and effectiveness of psychotherapy has been well established. Despite the consistent findings substantiating the field's worth, a significant question remains the subject of debate: how does psychotherapy work? On this subject, debate continues to divide the profession. In this paper, a "way out" is proposed informed by research on the therapist's contribution to treatment outcome and findings from studies on the acquisition of expertise.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum / trends
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / methods
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / trends*
  • Professional Competence
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Psychotherapy / education
  • Psychotherapy / trends*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / trends
  • Research / trends
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States