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Browsing by Author "Aalto, Jukka"

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  • Aalto, Jukka (2017)
    Objective The aim of this bachelor thesis is to investigate how duration of psychotherapy affects it´s outcome when treating adults with unipolar depression. So far the scientific evidence in this matter has been patchy: very few meta-analyses or systematic reviews have been published and thus there is no clear consensus in the field. Methods This bachelor thesis was carried out as a literature meta review. Effectiveness studies of both short and long term psychotherapies were included, along with studies that focus specifically on the length of therapy. There were two inclusion criteria for the studies: at least half of the subjects were required to have unipolar depression as their main psychiatric problem, and no specialty groups – such as pregnant women or ethnical minorities – were allowed as a main sample. Results and implications Among short term (1-20 sessions) psychotherapies, scientific evidence for optimal therapy duration is conflicting. It is, however, safe to say that the shortest (1-3 sessions) psychotherapies are the least effective therapeutic interventions of all kinds. Change during psychotherapy was roughly linear across all studies and initial symptom severity did not correlate significantly with optimal length of psychotherapy. Long psychotherapies of over 100 sessions proved to be the most effective. However, there are only few effectiveness studies investigating long-term psychotherapies and the methodology of those studies is not only varied but often quite lenient. Therefore it is dubious to compare short- and long-term psychotherapies and these results should be taken as preliminary remarks. There are practically no studies investigating medium long (20-100 sessions) psychotherapies. Given the scientific evidence, psychotherapeutic guidelines in Finland seem rather weird. In Finland, most therapies last 100-200 sessions, although good quality studies supporting these kinds of treatments are still sparse. On the other hand, short term psychotherapies are still rather rare in Finland despite firm scientific evidence suggesting their high utility in everyday clinical practice.