Is the Use of Interpretations Associated With Treatment Outcome? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analytic Answer

Sigal Zilcha-Mano, John R. Keefe, Hadar Fisher, Tohar Dolev-Amit, Nirit Veler-Poleg, Jacques P. Barber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Interpretation is the doyen of therapeutic techniques and has received some of the greatest theoretical and clinical attention. Nevertheless, to date, no meta-analysis has examined its effect on psychotherapy outcome. In the present systematic review and meta-analysis, we examined the association between interpretations and psychotherapy outcome. The meta-analysis was preregistered in PROSPERO. From 13,195 initially identified abstracts, we extracted 16 independent effect sizes from a total of 897 patients. Findings suggest a medium effect size (r = −.23, p =.002), indicating that the use of interpretations is associated with better outcome. This association remains consistent across types of interpretation measures, assessor perspectives, study quality, and number of sessions. Sensitivity analyses demonstrated the robustness of the results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Psychology: Science and Practice
Volume31
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Psychological Association

Funding

The work was partially supported by a grant from the American Psychoanalytic Association. This work was also supported by grants from the Israeli Science Foundation (Grant 186/15; 395/19).

FundersFunder number
American Psychoanalytic Association
Israel Science Foundation395/19, 186/15

    Keywords

    • interpretations
    • meta-analysis
    • psychodynamic treatment
    • transference

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