Research psychotherapy: Aspirin or music?
Beutler's call for an expanded psychotherapy agenda is appropriate but does not require downgrading the role of randomized clinical trials (RCTs). Large-scale RCTs are necessary to address questions of general public health importance. Within RCTs, psychotherapy can be conducted in a flexible, creative manner, similar to the practice of good clinicians. The aspirin analogy drawn from Klerman is not illustrative of how psychotherapy is actually conducted in contemporary clinical trials. A better analogy is that of music, which not only involves known ingredients and trainable, replicable skills, but also permits tailoring and improvisation. By conducting large RCTs, secondary analyses of these studies, and smaller controlled trials, psychotherapy researchers can address many clinically relevant questions. © 2009 Society of Clinical Psychology.
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