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Research in Psychotherapy

Brian P. Lipton, MD
JAMA. 1970;214(12):2199-2200. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03180120071030.
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Of all the disciplines that man has devised to alleviate human suffering, none is more complex and controversial than psychotherapy. Few will agree on what it is, on what training a psychotherapist should have, and whose approach is most effective. There are Freudians, Adlerians, Rogerians, Meyerians, Sullivanians, Jungians, Reichians, gestaltists, behaviorists, and existentialists along with a multiplicity of group and institutional modalities. There are detractors from psychotherapy who embrace the null hypothesis and proponents who swear by a most evasive and unproved success.

As if to further confound an already impossible issue, two audacious psychologists, Julian Meltzoff and Melvin Kornreich write a book suggesting that controlled research be used to see if and how psychotherapy works. Defining their termsand advancing a very impressive argument for this proposal, they then offer a brief primer on research methodology and plunge into an informative review of more than 800 relevant controlled studies in


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