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Natalie Greer Choosing Your Psychotherapist For a moment, imagine that you spend the majority of your time struggling through a wide array of emotional issues or obstacles. You have gone to both your family and friends yet there is no relief. Finally, you decide that enough is enough and you being search for professional help. Choosing Your Psychotherapist Not wanting to jump blindly into a decision, you begin researching psychotherapy but suddenly, you are facing a barrage of differing subcategories that all fall under the umbrella of psychotherapy.
Faced with all the options, you begin to question (1)whether or not psychotherapy even works and (2)if it does, which method is the most effective? Choosing Your Psychotherapist Now What? Choosing Your Psychotherapist In 1977, Mary Lee Smith and Gene Glass decided to tackle the challenge of answering these questions.
--until this point, there hadn't been any large scale research regarding these questions. There had been numerous small studies with few subjects that engaged few research methods. Most of these studies usually supported the method used by the psychologist conducting the study. Theoretical Propositions Goals: To identify and collect all studies that tested the effects of counseling and psychotherapy
To determine the magnitude of the effect of psychotherapy in each study
To compare the results of the different types of psychotherapy Methods They used a technique developed by Glass called Meta-analysis which takes the resulsts from many studies and compiles them into a more meaningful whole.
Self-esteem, reductions in anxiety, improvements in school or work, and overall adjustment were used to assess the effectiveness of the therapy
Those who were receiving therapy were 75% better of than those who were not.
All forms of therapy that were tested were found to be more effective than no treatment
They combined all the methods into two superclasses of therapy; 1) Behavioral and 2) non behavioral. When these two superclasses were compared, all differences disappeared
Implications and Subsequent
Research: Smith and Glass’s research cleared up a lot of confusion surrounding psychotherapy in the eyes of the consumers, but not so much in the eyes of the therapists. When most therapists began their careers, they believed that their type of psychotherapy was better or more helpful than the other forms, a belief that was shattered due to Smith and Glass’s findings. Implications and Subsequent Research According to the data from Smith and Glass’s studies, we know that psychotherapy definitely works. We also know that no specific form of therapy was found to be overwhelmingly better than another; each type had similar levels of effectiveness. These findings have been supported by research from Landman and Dawes in 1982. This study proved the hypothesis of Smith and Glass, and also showed that many therapists take an eclectic approach to therapy- meaning they draw from several different methods. At the time of this research, it was shown that 40% of therapists used eclectic methods. Implications and Subsequent Research The most important consideration to make when choosing your therapist is not the specific type of therapy that will be used, but the overall attitude that you have regarding therapy. It was stated in our paper, “If you believe that psychotherapy can help you, and you enter the therapeutic relationship with optimistic expectations, the chances of successful therapy are greatly increased.” Recent Applications There are three major studies that followed Smith and Glass’s research that deal with the effectiveness of meta-analytic strategies:
1) A meta-analysis of 48 studies on group therapy found that those who received treatment improved significantly more than 85% of an untreated group.
2) The effectiveness of relaxation training, biofeedback, and stress-management were tested over 30 years on patients with recurrent migraine headaches. They found a 35-50% reduction overall.
3) In the last study, the broad influence of Smith and Glass’s findings were demonstrated. This investigation was to determine the effectiveness of psychotherapy on individuals who were mentally retarded. The results showed a moderate yet significant degree of support to those individuals across all of the studies. Conclusion The studies by Smith and Glass are so monumental because they shattered the belief that certain types of psychotherapy are better than others. They encouraged therapists to focus instead on how to help their patients as best they could with whichever form of therapy they saw most fitting to the individual.