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 reviewand 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.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
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).
© 2023 American Psychological Association
- psychodynamic treatment
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Psychology