November 28, 2022

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Does psychotherapy really work?

Does psychotherapy really work?

  • Ron Flatten Björk

    Psychologist at the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic (BUP) and Senior Lecturer, University of Oslo

In general, there is a tangle of factors that influence the outcome of a treatment, and it is difficult to quantify the effect, writes the author of the blog post.

There is no “quick fix” and it doesn’t always work. At the same time, it is a shame that most people lose faith in treatment after seeing Folkeoplysningen.

This is the topic of discussion. Any opinions expressed in the text are the responsibility of the author. If you’d like to participate in the discussion, you can read how here.

If we believe Folkeoplysningen on NRK, psychotherapy doesn’t work. If we ask people who have gone to treatment, they are often satisfied, and the impression from the clinic is that many of them are well experienced in getting good help.

At the same time, there are a lot of people we can’t help but it’s good that Folkeopplysningen highlights this. It is important for most people to have realistic expectations for the effect of psychotherapy.

Treatment is required for the patient and difficult for researchers to understand.

clinical case

A few days ago I received a letter from a former patient I had followed for three years throughout high school. She wanted to thank me for the help she received ten years ago.

We had our first encounter in the health nurse’s office. I had an evidence-based treatment program for anxiety with me in my bag. I was optimistic about the treatment. Cognitive behavioral therapy. The young people themselves were not fully present.

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She writes: “I was my first encounter with a psychologist. In high school. I didn’t give you much to work with at first. Because I remember that for a long time I had three answers to your questions: nod, shake my head, shrug my shoulder. But you didn’t give up on me. And slowly but Consistently I told you about life in the house where the facade triumphs over everything. ”

This is often the case with serious mental disorders. It is not uncommon for a psychiatrist to slow down and establish a secure relationship with the young man first. slowly. exhausted. Building stone by stone. Then cooperation is established on the choice of treatment method, and we can take a few steps together on the road to recovery.

Searching myself on flowers?

“I will never forget the rose you gave me when I got my driver’s license,” she wrote in her letter to me. I must frankly admit that I had completely forgotten about that flower myself, but I remember it now that she was writing it. The flower was intended to celebrate the freedom that a driver’s license symbolizes. One step towards independence. Freedom from clutter at home. way out.

The flower was obviously of great importance to her, but it’s hard to imagine the Norwegian Research Council funding a research project comparing the effects of CBT with and without flowers. Cognitive flower therapy, anyone?

Does psychotherapy work?

In general, there is a tangle of factors that influence the outcome of treatment, and it is difficult to quantify the effect. The therapeutic approach, relationship and factors outside the treatment contribute to the treatment outcome. Therefore, it is difficult to document the effect of psychotherapy.

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However, it is important for most people to be informed that psychotherapy is required. There is no “quick fix” and it doesn’t always work. At the same time, it is a shame that most people lose faith in the treatment after seeing Folkeoplysningen on NRK.

There is already hope. There is help to be had. Even when life is very difficult. As my former patient wrote in his letter to me: “Now I am free!”

The patient agrees to share excerpts of the message in this publication.