Speaker: Bruce Wampold, UW Department of Counseling Psychology
Abstract: Randomized clinical trials have produced sufficient evidence to conclude that psychotherapy is remarkably effective-- more effective than many accepted medical procedures. However, the research evidence seems to indicate that widely divergent approaches to psychotherapy (e.g., cognitive, behavioral, and psychodynamic) are equally effective, casting doubt on the "scientific" explanations that are the bases of these treatments. Indeed, there is little evidence to support the treatment mechanisms purported to explain how psychotherapy works. Instead, there is much research evidence that there is significant variability among clinicians in terms of benefits, regardless of the treatment approach used. We are beginning to understand the characteristics and actions of effective therapists-- and these involve developing a collaborative working relationship with the patient, providing an acceptable (but not necessary scientifically correct) explanation for the distress, and inducing healthy actions.