Jonathan Shedler, PhD is known internationally as a psychologist, consultant, researcher, and author. He is best known for his article The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, which won worldwide acclaim for establishing psychodynamic therapy as an evidence-based treatment. His research and writing are shaping contemporary views of personality syndromes and their treatment. He is author of the Shedler-Westen Assessment Procedure (SWAP) and numerous scholarly and scientific articles in psychology and psychiatry. He has over 20 years’ experience teaching and supervising psychologists, psychiatrists and psychoanalysts.
Dr. Shedler lectures and leads workshops for professional audiences nationally and internationally, consults on psychological issues to U.S. and foreign government agencies, and provides clinical consultation and study groups to mental health professionals worldwide. Dr. Shedler is a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and was formerly Director of Psychology at the University of Colorado Hospital Outpatient Psychiatry Department.
In this presentation he argues that evidence based practice (EBP) has misrepresented the research in the name of its own agenda and that its primary objective is to promote short-term solution focused ways of working, such as CBT. He states: Detailed examination of the research shows that a) the treatments help only a small fraction of patients, b) the benefits the patients receive are clinically trivial and fail to pass the “So what?” test, c) the benefits evaporate quickly, d) patients remain symptomatic after treatment, e) the majority of patients seek additional treatment for the same condition within six months, and f) traditional (e.g., psychodynamic) psychotherapy is at least as effective and confers longer-term benefits.
Dr. Shedler concludes that research shows that for the most common mental health conditions, the treatments promoted as “evidence based” have been empirically invalidated. Proponents of the treatments appear to conflate mere existence of research studies with scientific support, disregarding the actual findings of the studies and their clinical implications. The popularity of “evidence-based” therapies may represent a triumph of marketing over science.
Well worth watching…
Here is the research paper in the full: Schedlar, Where-is-the-evidence-for-evidence-based-therapy, 2018