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October 17, 1986


JAMA. 1986;256(15):2071-2073. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380150081018

CONTEMPO reports on psychiatry have noted progress in a wide range of scientific areas, from the molecular biology of neurotransmitter receptors to the macro level of psychiatric epidemiology. A topic yet to receive CONTEMPO focus is the extensive clinical and research activity devoted to the increased understanding of subjective experience, individual behavior, learning, and interpersonal relationships subsumed under the rubric of psychotherapy.

Two important general trends are evident in this area, which is far more extensively developed than can be detailed here.1 First, there has been a movement toward empirical evaluation and away from partisan ideologies embodied in competing schools. The research question is not whether psychotherapy "works," but rather whether there is evidence for the efficacy of specific therapies for specific disorders.2 One example is the empirical testing of the long-held assumptions that psychotherapy and drug treatment should not be used together.3,4 A number of clinical