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(2016). Research digest: psychotherapists and research. J. Child Psychother., 42(2):234-240.

(2016). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 42(2):234-240

Research digest

Research digest: psychotherapists and research


Psychotherapists’ attitudes to and beliefs about research, and its relevance or lack of relevance to practice, has constituted a research topic in its own right since at least 1966 (Taubner et al., 2016, and see Kiesler, 1966, added here as a historical curiosity.) This digest collates some interesting articles on this topic and related fields: on the practice–research gap as it is often called (Atkins et al., 2016; Castonguary and Muran, 2015; Holmqvist et al., 2015) and on whether psychotherapists can accurately assess deterioration and non-improvement (Werbart et al., 2015; Hatfield et al., 2010), including the thorny issue of unconscious or at least unacknowledged attitudes and beliefs (Boswell et al., 2015, on ‘elephants in the room’). We can see that it is not only psychoanalytic psychotherapists who are viewed as sceptical in relation to the perceived value of research to clinical practice but practising clinicians more generally may find it difficult to reconcile their clinical expertise with ‘objective’ research findings (Fitzpatrick, 2012; Stewart et al., 2012). Also included in this digest are two articles with direct relevance to child psychotherapy practice: Midgley et al. (2016) with a qualitative study on young people’s expectations of psychotherapy, drawn from the IMPACT study, and Macdonald (2014) which intriguingly proposes that patient feedback can be co-opted into psychoanalytic psychotherapy technique.

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