The efficacy of psychotherapy: focus on psychodynamic psychotherapy as an example

Psychodyn Psychiatry. 2014 Sep;42(3):377-421. doi: 10.1521/pdps.2014.42.3.377.


The growing number of individuals seeking treatment for mental disorders calls for intelligent and responsible decisions in health care politics. However, the current relative decrease in reimbursement of effective psychotherapy approaches occurring in the context of an increase in prescription of psychotropic medication lacks a scientific base. Using psychodynamic psychotherapy as an example, we review the literature on meta-analyses and recent outcome studies of effective treatment approaches. Psychodynamic psychotherapy is an effective treatment for a wide variety of mental disorders. Adding to the known effectiveness of other shorter treatments, the results indicate lasting change in many cases, especially for complex and difficult to treat patients, ultimately reducing health-care utilization. Research-informed health care decisions that take into account the solid evidence for the effectiveness of psychotherapy, including psychodynamic psychotherapy, have the potential to promote choice, increase mental health, and reduce society's burden of disease in the long run.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Psychotherapy / methods
  • Psychotherapy / standards*
  • Psychotherapy, Psychodynamic / methods
  • Psychotherapy, Psychodynamic / standards*
  • Treatment Outcome*