What is psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is the informed and intentional application of clinical methods and interpersonal stances derived from established psychological principles for the purpose of assisting people to modify their behaviors, cognitions, emotions, and/or other personal characteristics in directions that the participants deem desirable.

(Norcross, 1990, p. 218-220)

Is psychotherapy effective?

Research on effectiveness of psychotherapy shows that at the end of treatment, the clients receiving therapy were 80% better than a control group with no treatment.

It also showed that 50% of clients reported significant improvement after 5-10 sessions and 75% of clients were significantly better off after 26 sessions (about 6 months).

According to research, the effect of psychotherapy was bigger than placebo (twice) or no treatment (four times) . Placebo is ineffective drug that is deliberately used to examine the effectiveness of some other treatment . The influence of placebo is often explained by autosuggestion and it shows the importance of the role of psychology in overcoming various ailments.

The results of psychotherapy tend to last longer and be less likely to require additional treatment courses than psychopharmacological treatments. In studies measuring psychotherapy effectiveness, clients often report the benefits of treatment not only endure after two or more years after finishing therapy, but continue to improve following therapy completion as seen in larger effect sizes found at follow-up (Abbass, et al., 2006; Grant, et al., 2012). This is probably related to the fact that during psychotherapy clients receive skills which they further use and so develop (Hollon, Stewart, Strunk, 2006; Shedler, 2010) .