‘Psychological treatment’ as an umbrella term for evidence-based psychotherapies?

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The purpose of this review paper is to comment on a suggestion proposed by David Barlow [Barlow, D. H. (2004). Psychological treatments. American Psychologist, 59, 869-878.], that evidence-based psychotherapies with a clear medical objective should go under the name of “psychological treatments”. We begin by describing the definition of psychotherapy and the role of common factors. We then briefly present how different “schools of psychotherapy” are differentiated. In the literature it is clear that psychological treatments can be both more broad in terms of the ways of delivery (e.g., Internet-based treatment), but also more narrow than psychotherapies, as psychological treatments are now increasingly regarded as evidence-based medical treatments for specific medical conditions. Psychological treatments are also increasingly recommended in treatment guidelines. Some benefits from using the concept of psychological treatment instead of the equally important but less medically oriented term psychotherapy are presented. As the regular “brand names” of psychotherapy are increasingly integrating procedures from different schools of therapy, and that the objective of psychotherapy often is adjustment and growth, we agree with the suggestion by Barlow that endorsing the term “psychological treatment” could facilitate the further dissemination of evidence-based psychological treatment procedures.

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