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March 14, 1980

The Effects of Psychotherapy

JAMA. 1980;243(10):1084. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300360052033

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Michael J. Lambert of the Institute for Studies in Values and Human Behavior, Department of Psychology, Brigham Young University, wrote this review of studies on the results of psychological treatment. This is a first volume in a series put out by Annual Research Reviews published by Eden Press.

The work surveys the effectiveness of psychotherapy and the research methods for studying this. It skillfully clarifies many of the professional controversies and concludes that there is a definite, but modest, positive result from therapy when compared with no treatment, waiting lists, and placebos. There is a brief, incompletely explained summary of the deterioration in patients, which may be caused by therapy itself.

The volume attempts to look primarily at individual psychotherapy, but it includes some material on group treatment, behavior therapy, and family therapy and covers nonmedical as well as medical therapists. (Reference is made throughout to clients rather than to