Question: In adults with common mental disorders (CMD) how effective are short-term psychodynamic psychotherapies compared to any other intervention for improving symptoms?


No definite clinical implications can be made from the available evidence. There is some evidence from a systematic review (SR) to suggest that STPP is superior to wait-list/treatment as usual/minimal treatment groups for improving depressive symptoms. The authors of this SR cautiously suggested that STPP may be a candidate treatment for the majority of non-psychotic and non-organic psychotherapeutic presentations. In contrast, however, there is evidence from a well-conducted randomised controlled trial which reported no differences in depressive symptoms between patients who received supportive-expressive psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy, or placebo. There is very little additional evidence to support/confirm these findings. The other trials included in this BEST summary evaluated different comparisons and were considered to have a high, or unclear, risk of bias.

Most studies confirmed that larger, high quality studies with long-follow up periods are needed. In addition, the authors of the included studies suggested that more research targeting specific population groups is warranted. It was also recommended that studies should examine specific treatment factors, such as emotional focus, and their contributions to outcomes across therapy models.

To view the full summary, click the Download Document link to the right.

To view the Cochrane review which is included in this summary, click the Related Documents link, below.

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