The enduring effects of psychodynamic treatments vis-à-vis alternative treatments: A multilevel longitudinal meta-analysis

Kivlighan, D. Martin; Goldberg, Simon B.; Abbas, Maleeha; Pace, Brian T.; Yulish, Noah E.; Thomas, Joel G.; Cullen, Megan M.; Flückiger, Christoph; Wampold, Bruce E. (2015). The enduring effects of psychodynamic treatments vis-à-vis alternative treatments: A multilevel longitudinal meta-analysis. Clinical psychology review, 40, pp. 1-14. Elsevier Science 10.1016/j.cpr.2015.05.003

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Although evidence suggests that the benefits of psychodynamic treatments are sustained over time, presently it is unclear whether these sustained benefits are superior to non-psychodynamic treatments. Additionally, the extant literature comparing the sustained benefits of psychodynamic treatments compared to alternative treatments is limited with methodological shortcomings. The purpose of the current study was to conduct a rigorous test of the growth of the benefits of psychodynamic treatments relative to alternative treatments across distinct domains of change (i.e., all outcome measures, targeted outcome measures, non-targeted outcome measures, and personality outcome measures). To do so, the study employed strict inclusion criteria to identify randomized clinical trials that directly compared at least one bona fide psychodynamic treatment and one bona fide non-psychodynamic treatment. Hierarchical linear modeling (Raudenbush, Bryk, Cheong, Congdon, & du Toit, 2011) was used to longitudinally model the impact of psychodynamic treatments compared to non-psychodynamic treatments at post-treatment and to compare the growth (i.e., slope) of effects beyond treatment completion. Findings from the present meta-analysis indicated that psychodynamic treatments and non-psychodynamic treatments were equally efficacious at post-treatment and at follow-up for combined outcomes (k=20), targeted outcomes (k=19), non-targeted outcomes (k=17), and personality outcomes (k=6). Clinical implications, directions for future research, and limitations are discussed.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy

UniBE Contributor:

Flückiger, Christoph


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Elsevier Science




Adriana Biaggi

Date Deposited:

02 May 2016 14:32

Last Modified:

02 May 2016 14:32

Publisher DOI:





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