“Folkeopplysningen” answers: Psychotherapy works

"Folkeopplysningen" answers: Psychotherapy works
  • Marit Raboj

    Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Oslo

The post’s writer interacts with the final episode of “Folkeopplysningen” with presenter Andreas Wahl (pictured).

In general, it has a very good effect.

This is the topic of discussion. Opinions expressed in the text are the responsibility of the author.

in the latest the ring From the “Folkeopplysningen” series on NRK, part of what appeared was directly misleading.

To address the basics first: Psychotherapy works.

It is said in the program that you must treat seven for one to recover, and that the statistic effect size is 0.3. Based on a number of descriptive studies in recent decades, the world’s leading researchers in this field Estimated effect size to about 0.7. See also Barkham and Lambert (2021).

This means that psychotherapy generally has a very good effect.

complex phenomena

The hypothesis made in the episode is that the same “disease” can be treated with the same “medicine”. It’s not that simple.

Psychiatric diagnoses are based on descriptions, calculation, and classification of symptoms. The same diagnosis can have different causes and may appear differently in different people.

Diagnostics and a little separation between the patient and the healthy help in understanding what the individual is experiencing, and how you can contribute to improving something.

Mental health and mental illness are complex phenomena that require several explanatory models.

Multiple viewpoints

Psychology is about people’s thoughts, feelings, behavior, relationships, brain function and not least how evolution can occur.

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Related points of view, for example, attachment theory. It’s about how people have the primary motivation to establish connection and maintain relationships.

The psychodynamic perspective was presented in the program as old-fashioned. This perspective is about working with the relationship between the past and the present and that people have a tendency to repeat patterns of being in the face of others.

The existential and humanistic perspective includes attention to common human conditions such as vulnerability, mortality, and existential unity. Emphasis is placed on the individual’s well-being and values.

An important goal in treatment will always be to strengthen the patient’s hope and belief that he can live his life and overcome difficulties.

What is recovery?

Specific treatment modalities account for a relatively small portion when measuring the effect of psychotherapy. In addition, the so-called “common factors” work. They have to come to terms with the fact that, regardless of the method, at best you meet a friendly therapist who shares what the patient is experiencing.

It is crucial to identify who the patient is as a person (the “patient effect”) and who the therapist is as a person (the “therapist effect”).

What constitutes optimization is also not clear. The effect of treatment is often measured by comparing patients’ answers to standard forms after the end of treatment with the answers they initially provided.

In studies where patients’ experiences of recovery have been explored in more detail, it has been shown that recovery can be about feeling “more normal.” This is in the sense of being better able to participate in daily life, being kinder to yourself, being more in control of symptoms, finding more constructive ways to connect with oneself and others, and noticing what you should do after all, to name examples few.

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Source for meta-studies: Barkham, M., & Lambert, M. J. (2021). Efficacy and effectiveness of psychological treatments. In M. Barkham, W. Lutz, & L. Castonguay (Eds.), Bergin and Garfield’s Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change. Fiftieth Anniversary Edition (pp. 135-189). Wiley.

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