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Psychodynamic therapy: a well-defined concept with increasing evidence
  1. Falk Leichsenring1,
  2. Allan Abbass2,3,
  3. William Gottdiener4,
  4. Mark Hilsenroth5,
  5. John R Keefe6,
  6. Patrick Luyten7,8,
  7. Sven Rabung9,10,
  8. Christiane Steinert1
  1. 1Department of Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen, Germany
  2. 2Department of Psychiatry, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  3. 3Centre for Emotions and Health, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  4. 4Department of Psychology, The City University of New York, New York, USA
  5. 5Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies, Adelphi University, Hy Weinberg Center, Garden City, New York, USA
  6. 6Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  7. 7Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  8. 8Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London, London, UK
  9. 9Department of Psychology, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Klagenfurt, Austria
  10. 10Department of Medical Psychology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Professor Dr. Falk Leichsenring, Department of Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, University of Giessen, Ludwigstrasse 76, Giessen 35392, Germany; Falk.Leichsenring{at}

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The efficacy of psychodynamic therapy (PDT) is well established1 ,2 and has been acknowledged by independent review committees.3 ,4 Stefan Hofmann, however, again questioned the empirical status of PDT.4 When confronted with evidence refuting his claims,4 Hofmann ignored the data and repeated his critique in this journal.5 We again address Hofmann’s claims.

Definition of PDT

Hofmann criticised PDT as a ‘poorly defined concept’, claiming that all therapies including cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) would meet its definition.5 However, there is evidence that PDT and CBT can be significantly differentiated by blind raters (eg, references # 26, 27, 40, 42, 46, 64, 67, 70, 81 in Leichsenring et al1)—also showing adequate treatment integrity in contrast to Hofmann's claims. …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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