Is psychotherapy good for your health?


This is a dedicated review of the evidence for the relation of having a period of psychotherapy and then comparing it with a measure of improved physical health. We aimed to make it the first intended-to-be-complete review of this type. Three inter-related types of studies were examined: Type 1: reduction in physical illnesses through psychotherapy, especially for the patient's survival time during the interval between diagnosis and an end point, Type 2: reduction in pain in relation to receiving psychotherapy, and Type 3: reduction in costs of treatment in relation to receiving psychotherapy. To find the relevant studies on these topics, we performed a literature search using both Psychinfo and Medline databases. An average of the effect sizes under each type was taken to calculate the mean effect size along with its confidence interval. Our results (1) on survival time for the combined severe patients, did not reach even the lowest significant level of effect size, although the low severity patients seemed to fit the hypothesis better; but the other two reduction topics, (2) and (?), clearly did achieve it.

Publication Title

American Journal of Psychotherapy