Long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy seems more effective in treating complex psychiatric problems than short-term treatments focused more on medications, a meta-analysis has found.
Long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy (LTPP) stresses psychological support and intervention for the patient based on his specific needs.
"In this meta-analysis, LTPP was significantly superior to shorter-term methods of psychotherapy with regard to overall outcome, target problems, and personality functioning," said Falk Leichsenring of the University of Giessen, Germany, a lead researcher.
The meta-analysis published in the October 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association included 11 randomized controlled trials and 12 observational studies, involving a total of 1,053 patients receiving LTPP.
"Long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy yielded large and stable effect sizes in the treatment of patients with personality disorders, multiple mental disorders, and chronic mental disorders. The effect sizes for overall outcome increased significantly between end of therapy and follow-up," Leichsenring stressed.
Patients undergoing LTPP on average saw better results 96 percent of the time than patients who received short-term intensive medication therapies.
"Evidence indicates that short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy is insufficient for a considerable proportion of patients with complex mental disorders, i.e., patients with multiple or chronic mental disorders or personality disorders," the authors said.
"Some studies suggest that long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy (LTPP) may be helpful for these patients, according to background information in the article," they added.