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Editorial: Promoting Quality Psychotherapy: It Is Not the Process but the Outcome That Matters!

Walkup, J. T.; Parkhurst, J.; Lavigne, J.

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2020 May 23; 59(7):797-799


The article published in this issue of the Journal by Bear et al.(1) is the first to use meta-analytic procedures to try to understand the value of psychotherapy for pediatric anxiety and depression as usually delivered in the community. The authors scoured the literature for psychotherapy clinical trials that used treatment as usual as a control group or observational studies of treatment in mental health settings, then applied meta-analytic approaches to get a better idea of what treatment as usual outcomes were and by extension what to expect from psychotherapy as usually delivered. The study findings suggest that psychotherapy as practiced in the community even in high-quality settings does not provide consistently good outcomes. In this editorial, we will review the results of this study and discuss trends in psychotherapy research and practice that could improve the outcomes for patients and families.

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