Psychological Bulletin, 122(3), 203-215.
This meta-analysis tested the Dodo bird conjecture, which states that when psychotherapies intended to be therapeutic are compared, the true differences among all such treatments are 0. Based on comparisons between treatments culled from 6 journals, it was found that the effect sizes were homogeneously distributed about 0, as was expected under the Dodo bird conjecture, and that under the most liberal assumptions, the upper bound of the true effect was about .20. Moreover, the effect sizes (a) were not related positively to publication date, indicating that improving research methods were not detecting effects, and (b) were not related to the similarity of the treatments, indicating that more dissimilar treatments did not produce larger effects, as would be expected if the Dodo bird conjecture was false. The evidence from these analyses supports the conjecture that the efficacy of bona fide treatments are roughly equivalent
Bonanno, G. A. & Lilienfeld, S. O. (2008).Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 39(3), 377-378.
Comments on the article by D. Larson and W. Hoyt (see record 2007-11559-003) which argued that bereavement researchers have erroneously and unscientifically advocated the pessimistic conclusion that grief counseling is ineffective and perhaps even harmful. They proclaimed that the news is actually good: Grief counseling is not harmful but is as effective as other forms of psychotherapy. Therefore, they concluded, most or all bereaved people should be considered candidates for treatment. This kind of unwarranted optimism is as dangerous, if not more so, than an overly cautious pessimism. The current authors contend that the debate should be focused on (a) fine tuning assessment instruments so that they can best identify those bereaved people in serious clinical need and (b) further developing effective treatments that can more judiciously intervene when intervention is called for.
Lilienfeld, S. O. (2007). Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2(1), 53-70.
The phrase primum non nocere ('first, do no harm') is a well-accepted credo of the medical and mental health professions. Although emerging data indicate that several psychological treatments may produce harm in significant numbers of individuals, psychologists have until recently paid little attention to the problem of hazardous treatments. I critically evaluate and update earlier conclusions regarding deterioration effects in psychotherapy, outline methodological obstacles standing in the way of identifying potentially harmful therapies (PHTs), provide a provisional list of PHTs, discuss the implications of PHTs for clinical science and practice, and delineate fruitful areas for further research on PHTs. A heightened emphasis on PHTs should narrow the scientist-practitioner gap and safeguard mental health consumers against harm. Moreover, the literature on PHTs may provide insight into underlying mechanisms of change that cut across many domains of psychotherapy. The field of psychology should prioritize its efforts toward identifying PHTs and place greater emphasis on potentially dangerous than on empirically supported therapies.
Larson, D. G. & Hoyt, W. T. (2007). Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 38(4), 347-355.
A pessimistic view of grief counseling has emerged over the last 7 years, exemplified by R. A. Neimeyer's (2000) oft-cited claim that "such interventions are typically ineffective, and perhaps