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June 2002

Psychoanalytic Treatments Within PsychiatryAn Expanded View

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2002;59(6):499-500. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.59.6.499

IN THEIR article, Gabbard, Gunderson, and Fonagy1—all distinguished psychoanalytic contributors—describe clearly and persuasively the only partially successful efforts, to this point, for psychoanalytic psychotherapies to meet the proclaimed "gold standard" of empirically validated treatments.(However, Luborsky2 and Strupp3 have both made a convincing case for the greater appropriateness of the less rigorous criterion of empirically supported treatment as the more useful and meaningful measure of psychotherapeutic approaches.) Gabbard et al describe equally clearly and persuasively the complexities of method and design that make it much more difficult to mount compelling empirically validated treatment studies in the realm of psychoanalytic psychotherapies than in alternative psychiatric therapeutic approaches, such as pharmacotherapy or even brief, time-limited dynamic psychotherapy. And, incidentally, many of even the most widely used, and presumably efficacious, therapies in general medicine and surgery have not met or even been subjected to empirical validation.

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