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April 1996

Practice Guidelines and Professional Challenges: What Psychotherapists Need to Do

Author Affiliations

Professor of Psychiatry Cornell University Medical Center New York, NY 10021

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1996;53(4):303-304. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1996.01830040033007

Drs Persons, Thase, and Crits-Christoph1 are to be congratulated for a concise, thorough, and well-executed review of the empirical basis supporting or contradicting the various recommendations for the psychotherapy of depression in the American Psychiatric Association and Agency for Health Care Policy and Research guidelines. The recommendations about guideline development given by the authors are eminently reasonable. What is most striking about the overall field of psychotherapy is the paucity of outcome research available. It behooves the mental health professions to understand this deficiency and to decide on a remedial course of action.

Psychotherapy does not have a major research tradition. Psychoanalytic psychotherapy, the most widely practiced technique, has developed as a professional service delivered by psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers who have received training in graduate and postgraduate programs organized and operated by professional guilds. Therapeutic techniques have been taught by practicing professionals based on texts written by

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