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Psychotherapy Controlled Trials and Meta-Analyses:
Confounds and Considerations

An SPR Webinar

Glen Spielman, Metropolitan State University, USA.

Thursday November 15, 2018 at 10am EST

In controlled trials, direct comparisons of psychotherapies examine whether particular treatments are superior to others. However, such comparisons are often compromised by confounds. Thus, claims that one therapy outperforms another must be closely examined to avoid the spurious appearance of “winners” and “losers” among psychotherapies. A wide variety of confounds should be examined, including treatment dosage, researcher and therapist allegiances, whether each therapy was legitimate/bona fide, therapist effects, pre-training of therapists, therapist supervision, caseload of therapists, homework, and patient preferences. Other important considerations include sample representativeness, outcome measures, and time of assessment. Even the underlying theoretical orientation of the tested psychotherapies requires close consideration (for example, is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy?). In both clinical trials and subsequent meta-analyses, accounting for these potential confounds helps to maximize understanding of psychotherapy effects.


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