The truth is that whenever genuine psychotherapies are researched they are found to be effective to some extent. Moreover, whenever genuine psychotherapies are compared with one another, they are found to be more or less equally effective. This is the most consistent finding in decades of psychotherapy research. This ‘equivalence paradox’ is not a popular conclusion amongst those who favour a particular approach. Nevertheless, it is indeed the truth. For example, a very large study of the outcome data from practitioners of different psychotherapies within the British national health service found no difference in outcome between cognitive-behaviour therapy, person-centred counselling, and psychodynamic psychotherapy click – but this is simply in line with all such studies of genuine psychotherapies.
For more details of relevant research and exploration of these issues, I particularly recommend the writings and website of Scott Miller: www.scottdmiller.com - and the work of Bruce Wampold, particularly his book The Great Psychotherapy Debateclick. Having been in clinical practice for 35 years, it seems to me that all the main schools of psychotherapy contain important aspects of knowledge and skill in how to help people. None of them contains all that we need. It is best to combine the relevant components of a variety of approaches. Even then, the results of psychotherapy are often (in my view) not adequate. We need to keep exploring and questioning in order to find better ways. Whilst personally I find the methods of energy psychology endlessly fascinating, and they provide an ease, depth, and rapidity of problem resolution that I have not found in other approaches, they are certainly not right for everyone and are not effective for everyone. I feel it is best for us all – in our diverse fields – to lower the hype about ‘psychological therapies’. They are all helpful to some extent with some clients – but none have all the answers. The most important skill of the therapist is to listen – to listen deeply and with his or her whole being. Whilst the client may not consciously know what needs to be addressed and in what way, if we listen carefully and patiently enough, some part of the client’s being does often know – and may, if we are lucky, convey this knowing to us in one form or another. To quote the title of my own analyst’s first book, it is a matter of ‘Learning from the Patient’ [Patrick Casement. Routledge. 1985]