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Peter Fonagy - Empirical research and psychoanalysis​

  1. In Psychodynamic psychotherapies: Evidence-based practice and clinical wisdom", published in Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, Fonagy et al. update the psychotherapy outcomes literature. The key questions are: Are there any disorders for which short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy (STPP) can be considered evidence-based. Are there any disorders for which STPP is uniquely effective as either the only evidence-based treatment or as a treatment that is more effective than alternatives. Is there any evidence base for long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy (LTPP) either in terms of achieving effects not normally associated with short-term treatment or addressing problems that have not been addressed by STPP?

  2. In "The outcome of psychodynamic psychotherapy for psychological disorders", Fonagy provides a selective review of trials of brief psychodynamic psychotherapies and an overview of mostly follow-up or follow-along studies of long-term more intensive psychoanalytic therapy. In relation to the treatment of mood disorders, particularly depression, anorexia nervosa and some personality disorders, there is evidence to suggest that brief psychodynamic psychotherapy is comparable in effectiveness to empirically supported treatments.

  3. In his Editorial, "Psychotherapy research: do we know what works for whom?" in the British Journal of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy research: do we know what works for whom? , Fonagy argues that psychodynamic practice should upgrade treatment protocols. 

  4. In "The effectiveness of psychodynamic psychotherapies: an update", Fonagy provides a comprehensive review of outcome studies and meta-analyses of effectiveness studies of psychodynamic therapy (PDT) for the major categories of mental disorders. Comparisons with inactive controls (waitlist, treatment as usual and placebo) generally . . . show PDT to be effective for depression, some anxiety disorders, eating disorders and somatic disorders.  The strongest current evidence base supports relatively long-term psychodynamic treatment of some personality disorders, particularly borderline personality disorder. Fonagy recommends abandoning the inherently conservative strategy of comparing heterogeneous “families” of therapies for heterogeneous diagnostic groups.

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