The Evidence for Therapy

Millions of Americans go to talk therapy. But does it work? It’s a surprisingly difficult question to answer.

Talk therapy does produce great benefits for some people, but not for everyone, so it might not work for you, my colleague Susan Dominus wrote for The New York Times Magazine’s therapy issue, published this week.

Researchers were able to reach that conclusion only relatively recently. Since the days of Sigmund Freud, the field of psychotherapy has been resistant, even hostile, to evaluating its methods through empirical studies. “At my graduation from psychoanalytic training, a supervising analyst said to me, ‘Your analysis will cure you of the need to do research,’” Andrew Gerber, the president of a psychiatric treatment center in Connecticut, told The Times.

That resistance has waned in the past few decades, leading to hundreds of clinical trials. The results have been mixed. Some studies have found that therapy has a higher chance of helping than not. Other…

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This article was written by German Lopez and originally published on