"By any standard of effectiveness, psychotherapy works" (Campbell et al., 2013).

"The question whether psychotherapy . . . is effective is no longer debated" (Horvath, 2013, p. 27).

The American Psychological Association (APA) passed a resolution declaring psychotherapy's effectiveness in August, 2012 (APA, 2013)

Much research has been done that supports the effectiveness of psychotherapy. About 60,000 research reports have been published on the subject over the past 30 years. Approximately two thirds of patients improve or recover (Lambert, 2013). In addition, the usual treated client is better off than 79% of untreated clients (Campbell et al., 2013). Psychotherapy is more effective than many respected medical practices, some of which are expensive and produce difficult side effects (Wampold, 2007).

Indeed, psychotherapy does not work for everyone. Roughly one-third of patients do not improve. And it works better for some than for others. Concerning the positive responders, some respond quickly, after only a few sessions. But for most patients improvement takes place slowly and is incremental over many sessions. Most patients, around 75%, need around 50 sessions (Lambert, 2013). Moreover, as the APA (2013) resolution noted, positive responders report that the benefits not only endure after treatment is over, but also improvements increase with time.

The APA (2013) resolution also compares psychotherapy with psychopharmacology, which impacts biology directly. It concludes the results of psychotherapy are longer lasting and decrease the need for additional courses of treatment. Interestingly psychotherapy is becoming increasingly recognized as also impacting biology. "Make an impression on someone's mind, reinforce it often enough, and bingo! --a new neural network forms. In other words, the mind has altered a little part of the brain" (Hanson, 2014, p. 19). Indeed well executed psychotherapy effects the mind-brain connection.Talk therapy is therefore not just talk. "In fact, the right kind of therapeutic talk can be seen as just as much of a biological intervention as medication" (Wylie, 2014, p. 37).

In conclusion, considerable research over many years substantiates the effectiveness of psychotherapy for most clients. It can change the mind and brain. Its results can be long-lasting and may increase over time. If you are interested in considering psychotherapy, you are welcome to CONTACT ME to set up an initial session for us to discuss the possibilities.


American Psychological Association. (2013). Recognition of psychotherapy effectiveness. Psychotherapy, 50 (1), 102-109. doi: 10.1037/a0030276

Campbell, L. F., Norcross, J. C., Vasquez, M. J. T., & Kaslow, N. J. (2013). Recognition of psychotherapy effectiveness: The APA resolution. Psychotherapy, 50 (1). 98-101. doi: 10.1037/a0031817

Hanson, R. (2014). The next big step. Psychotherapy Networker, 38 (11), 18-25 & 48.

Horvath, A. O, (2013). You can't step into the same river twice, but you can stub your toes on the same rock: Psychotherapy outcome from a 50-year perspective. Psychotherapy, 50 (1), 25-32. doi: 10.1037/a0030899

Lambert, M. J. (2013). Outcome in psychotherapy: the past and important advances. Psychotherapy, 50 (1), 42-51. doi: 10.1037/a0030682

Wampold, B. E. (2001). The great psychotherapy debate: Model, methods, and findings . Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Wampold, B. E. (2007). Psychotherapy: The humanistic (and effective) treatment. American Psychologist, 62 , 857-873. doi: 10.1037/0003066X.62.8.857

Wylie, M. S. (2014). Beyond phrenology. Psychotherapy Networker, 38 (1), 35-39 & 54.

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