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August 1995

Between the Past and the Future of Psychotherapy Research

Author Affiliations

Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior Jefferson Medical College 1201 Chestnut St, Suite 1503 Philadelphia, PA 19107

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1995;52(8):642-644. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1995.03950200032007

THE overarching goal of psychotherapy research is to understand the mechanisms through which such treatment operates and to assess the impact of moderating influences on maladaptive and adaptive functioning. During the past two decades, there has been a dramatic increase in empirically based outcome- and process-oriented psychotherapy research. Outcomeoriented research1-4 concerns itself with the scientific evaluation of the effectiveness of psychotherapy. Moving beyond this approach, processoriented psychotherapy research5-9 investigates the extent to which outcome is determined by the interaction of the patients' psychopathologic characteristics and personality on the one hand, and the therapists' skills, personality, and particularly their technique on the other.

See also pages 625, 633, 637, 639, 645, 646, 649, 651, and 654

Both approaches have contributed much to our understanding in this realm. At the same time, both have demonstrated the difficulties inherent in the systematic investigation of psychotherapy, an enterprise that subsumes over 400

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