The Outcome of Psychotherapy With Children


This review quantitatively assesses the outcomes of psychotherapy with children. Seventy-five studies were examined in which children who received psychotherapy were compared with controls or children receiving another form of treatment. Results demonstrated that therapy with children is similar in effectiveness to therapy with adults; treated children achieved outcomes about two thirds of a standard deviation better than untreated children. Although behavioral treatments appeared to be more effective than nonbehavioral treatments, this apparent superiority was due largely to the types of outcome and target problems included in behavioral studies. No differences in outcome were found to result from other treatment characteristics such as the use of play in therapy or the administration of treatment individually or in groups. The evidence from this review suggests that previous doubts about the overall efficacy of psychotherapy with children can be laid to rest. © 1985 American Psychological Association.

Publication Title

Psychological Bulletin