‘A path in the woods’: child psychotherapists’ participation in a large randomised controlled trial

Journal article citation:
Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 12(3), 2012, pp.204-213.
Taylor and Francis

Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) are often considered the ‘gold standard’ psychotherapy research methodology by organisations such as the UK’s National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).  However, many clinicians have attacked the privileging of RCTs within psychotherapy research on the grounds of inappropriate epistemology and values. The aim of this study was to explore how actual participation in outcome research may change clinicians’ attitudes towards this type of research. The study forms part of the ‘IMPACT’ trial (Improving Mood through Psychoanalytic and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), currently ongoing in the UK, which explores the cost-effectiveness of different treatments for adolescent depression.  The specific focus of this study was on psychoanalytic child psychotherapists’ experiences of participation in this large-scale RCT. Five child psychotherapists were interviewed towards the end of the planning stage of the trial, and transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. The findings showed that many child psychotherapists found their experience of participation in outcome research transformative. The findings suggest that perhaps clinical practice and outcome research need not be viewed as quite so separate, either in their processes, or ultimately in their aims.

Subject terms:
psychotherapy, randomised controlled trials, attitudes;
Content type:
United Kingdom
Journal home page
ISSN online:
ISSN print:
1473 3145

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