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Psychotherapy: Does it Work? Why Does it Work?
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Psychotherapy: Does it Work? Why Does it Work?

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  1. Psychotherapy: Does it Work? Why Does it Work? Bruce E. Wampold, Ph.D., ABPP Department of Counseling Psychology Department of Psychiatry University of Wisconsin-- Madison & Research Institute Modum Bad Psychiatric Center Vikersund NORWAY

  2. Does it work?Psychotherapy v. No-tx • Eysenck, science, and behaviorism • Evidence from RCTs: • Smith and Glass (1977) • Effect size: • g = (mean Tx - mean Control)/SD • es = .80 • Accounts for 13% of variance in outcomes • Average treated person does better than 80% of untreated persons

  3. Psychotherapy works • NNT = 3 – three patients need to be treated to obtain one additional success • Aspirin as a prophylaxis for heart attacks (NNT = 129) • Superior to interventions in cardiology, geriatric medicine, asthma, flu vaccine, cataract surgery • Comparable to psychopharmacology interventions • Enduring and safe • Effects in practice comparable to benchmarks created by RCTs • Elite club: Medicine and psychotherapy

  4. Effect sizes Tx v. No Tx

  5. How does it work? • Treatment • Common factors • Interaction of specific and common factors– the contextual model

  6. Specific Treatment Effects • Psychological treatments = built on characteristics found in a variety of treatments, including “the therapeutic alliance, the induction of positive expectancy of change, and remoralization,” but contain important “specific psychological procedures targeted at the psychopathology at hand” (Barlow, 2004, p. 873). • Empirically Supported Treatments • Evidence based treatments • 2 trials, > control or = EST, manual, 2 different groups • Inference: Specified treatment differences will exist

  7. Treatment Differences • Treatment intended to be therapeutic • Psychological rationale, trained therapists who have allegiance to tx, no proscription of usual therapeutic actions • Null Hypothesis: • All treatment intended to be therapeutic are equally effective

  8. Wampold et al. (1997) • All direct comparisons across disorders • Effects homogeneously distributed about zero– No evidence to reject the null hypothesis • Upper bound • d = .2 • % variance < 1% • NNT = 9 • SMALL

  9. Effect sizes Tx A v. Tx B

  10. Depression (see http://www.div12.org/PsychologicalTreatments • ESTs: behavioral activation, cognitive therapy, interpersonal therapy, brief dynamic therapy, reminiscence therapy, self-control therapy, social problem solving therapy, self-system therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, behavioral couple therapy, self/management self-control therapy… and • The case of process-experiential therapy • Behavioral/cognitive behavioral not superior to verbal therapies intended to be therapeutic • Dynamic therapies produce effect sizes comparable to CBT • Does CBT work through specific ingredients?

  11. CT for Depression (Jacobson et al. 1996) • The purpose of this study was to “provide an experimental test of the theory of change put forth by A. T. Beck, A. J. Rush, B. F. Shaw, and G. Emery (1979) to explain the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CT) for depression” (p. 295). • Complete Cognitive Therapy (CT) • Behavioral activation (monitoring, activity assignment, social skills training) • Dysfunctional thoughts (Monitoring, assessment, reality testing, alternative cognitions, examination of attributional biases, homework) • Core Schema (Identify core beliefs and alternatives, advantages and disadvantages, modification of core beliefs) • Activation + modification of dysfunctional thoughts (AT) • Behavioral Activation (BA) • CT v. AT v. BA

  12. Jacobson results • “According to the cognitive theory of depression, CT should work significantly better than AT, which in turn, should work significantly better than BA.” • BA = AT = CT • “These findings run contrary to hypotheses generated by the cognitive model of depression put forth by Beck and his associates (1979), who proposed that direct efforts aimed at modifying negative schema are necessary to maximize treatment outcome and prevent relapse.” • Depression placebo responsive… “real disorders”

  13. PTSD • PE, Stress Inoculation Training v. Supportive Counseling (Foa et al.) • PE, SIT scientifically designed treatments • PE, SIT > Supportive Counseling • Conclusion: • Exposure, cognitive change needed.

  14. Supportive Counseling • “Patients were taught a general problem-solving technique. Therapists played an indirect and unconditionally supportive role. Homework consisted of the patient’s keeping a diary of daily problems and her attempts at problem solving. Patients were immediately redirected to focus on current daily problems if discussions of the assault occurred.” • Belief of therapists delivering Supportive Counseling? • But examine another study…

  15. PTSD in Adult Female Childhood Sexual Abuse (Completer Sample)

  16. PTSD in Adult Female Childhood Sexual Abuse (Intent to treat)

  17. PTSD Dropout Rate

  18. PTSD • “As expected, our hypothesis that Tx A would be more effective than WL received consistent support. There was no effect of either tx on quality of life. Our hypothesis that Tx A would be superior to Tx B received support (at follow-up only). In summary, for women who remained in Tx A, it was highly effective.”

  19. PTSD • Tx A = CBT, prolonged imaginal exposure, in vivo exposure, cognitive restructuring, breathing retraining • Psychologist therapist, Foa supervisor • Cogent rationale • Tx B = PCT (Present-centered treatment) • Rationale: impact of trauma on current functioning, systematic approach to problem solving, manual. • MSW therapists, trained by authors • No cognitive or behavioral components (no exposure) • Quality of Life? • McDonagh et al. 2005

  20. Present Centered Therapy

  21. Present Centered Therapy • 3 Trials • Comparable (or better) than Evidence-based Treatment • > 2 Research groups • Manualized • Meets standards for evidence-based treatment (Frost et al., submitted) • Consider EMDR • Pseudo science, Mesmerism

  22. Resick et al. 2008 PTSD • Cognitive Processing Therapy • Cognitive therapy only • Written Accounts • 2hr/wk, 6 weeks (writing 45-60 min) • All 3 treatments showed improvement

  23. Post Traumatic Diagnostic Scale

  24. PTSD • Prolonged exposure, CBT, EMDR, hypnotherapy, psychodynamic, trauma desensitization, present-centered therapy, CBT without exposure • No differences among treatments intended to be therapeutic (Benish, Imel, & Wampold, 2008)

  25. Other diagnoses • Panic: Panic Control Tx, Psychodynamic (Mildrod et al., 2007) • Alcohol Use Disorders • Meta-analysis of all tx, including CBT, MI, AA, etc. • No differences (Imel et al., 2008)

  26. Children • Depression and Anxiety • CBT = non-CBT (when intended to be therapeutic) Spielmans, Pasek, & McFall, 2007 • Depression, anxiety, conduct disorder, ADHD • Small differences • Entirely explained by allegiance of researcher • Miller, Wampold, & Varhely, 2008

  27. Meta-analysis of studies comparing 2 treatments

  28. Meta-analysis of studies comparing 2 treatments • 9 comparisons • Overall effect not significant • Only 1 of 9 statistically significant • Markowitz: HIV Depressed men, IPT > CBT • NIMH funded 1992-2009 • $11,760,874 (78,848,306 SEK) • Value?

  29. If not treatment, then…. Common Factors

  30. Alliance • Bond (i.e., relationship) • Agreement on Goals • Agreement on Tasks

  31. Alliance and outcome correlation • Horvath et al. (2011) reviewed 190 studies, > 14,000 patients • Correlation of alliance at early session and outcome • r = .27  d = .57 > MEDIUM

  32. Effect sizes-- Alliance Alliance

  33. Alliance and outcome correlation • Horvath et al. (2011) reviewed 190 studies, > 14,000 patients • Correlation of alliance at early session and outcome • r = .27  d = .57 > MEDIUM • Not confounded by improvement (Klein et al. 2003; Crits-Christoph et al. 2011) • Other factors (Flückiger et al., 2012) • CBT v non CBT • Manual driven or not/Specific treatment • Allegiance to alliance • Therapist or patient contribution?

  34. Psychotherapy Relationships that Work: NorcrossRelationships that Work (2011)

  35. Common Factors—Specific Factors Webb, DeRubeis, & Barber, 2010 NOT SIGNIFICANT

  36. Correlations v. RCTs • Correlation does imply causation • Issues with RCTs • Selection and Generalizability • Blinding • Distinguishability • Active ingredients • Therapist effects • Outcome measures

  37. Therapist Effects • Definition: Some therapists consistently attain better outcomes than other therapists • Not due to contribution of patients • Not due to chance • Generalizable to the population of therapists • Compare to effects for other factors (e.g., treatment differences)

  38. Therapist Effects– The Evidence • Clinical Trials • Selected, trained, supervised and monitored • 8% of variability due to therapists • Tx differences: At most 1 percent • Naturalistic settings • 3% to 17% due to therapists • Across age, severity, & diagnosis • Possibly not across racial and ethnic groups • Cross validated

  39. NIMH TDCRP reanalysis • Nested Design (CBT and IPT) • Well trained therapists, adherence monitored, supervision • Elkin: • The treatment conditions being compared in this study are, in actuality, “packages” of particular therapeutic approaches and the therapists who choose to and are chosen to administer them…. The central question… is whether the outcome findings for each of the treatments, and especially for differences between them, might be attributable to the particular therapists participating in the study. • $6,000,000 (40,198,715.15 SEK)

  40. Random Effects Modeling • Therapists considered a random factor • Therapists nested within treatments (multilevel model) • Final observations, controlling for pretest at patient and therapist level • Kim, Wampold, & Bolt, Psychotherapy Research, 2006

  41. Greater Severity Greater Severity Random Effects Modeling • Therapists considered a random factor • Therapists nested within treatments (multilevel model) • Final observations, controlling for pretest at patient and therapist level • Therapist slope fixed and random • Kim, Wampold, & Bolt, Psychotherapy Research, 2006

  42. Variance due to Tx: CBT v IPT

  43. Variance due to Tx and Therapists Note: Elkin et al. (2006) found negligible therapist effects in the same data

  44. Psychiatrist Effects– Psychopharmacology • Antidepressants: Imipramine v. Placebo • 30 minutes, biweekly • 3% due to treatment • 9% due to therapist • Best psychiatrists got better outcome with placebo than worst psychiatrists with imipramine (McKay, Imel & Wamold, 2006)

  45. Effect sizes– Therapists Effects Therapists Effects

  46. Therapists make a difference • Characteristics and Actions of Effective Therapists? • Consult Beutler (Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change) • We don’t know • And we don’t care • Education, agriculture, medicine…. And psychotherapy • Fundamental unanswered question • Beginning to accumulate evidence • Btw: therapist effects inflates treatment differences

  47. Alliance: Patient v. Therapist Contribution to Alliance • Counseling center consortium data • OQ pre and post, Alliance 4th session • 331 patients, 80 therapists • Alliance/outcome correlation .24 • 3% of variance due to therapists • What is correlation of alliance with outcome • Within therapists? • Between therapists? • And the results….

  48. Within or between? Better therapist

  49. Therapist contribution to alliance is critical • Patient contribution to alliance not predictive of outcome • Therapist contribution is predictive of outcome • Interaction not significant • Alliance is not a result of outcome

  50. Interpersonal skills • Verbal fluency, interpersonal perception, affective modulation and expressiveness, warmth and acceptance, empathy, focus on others • Measured with a challenge test • Responses to vignettes • Accounts for therapist differences • Anderson, Ogles, Patterson, Lambert, & Vermeersch, D. A. (2009) • Supported in meta-analyses (see Norcross, Psychotherapy Relationships that Work)