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Time for a paradigm shift for psychotherapies?
  1. Elisabeth Schramm1,
  2. Ron Rapee2,
  3. Toshi A Furukawa3
  1. 1 Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Medical Center, University of Freiburg, Faculty of Medicine, Freiburg, Germany
  2. 2 Department of Psychology, Center for Emotional Health, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3 Department of Health Promotion and Human Behavior, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine / School of Public Health, Kyoto, Japan
  1. Correspondence to Professor Toshi A Furukawa, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine Faculty of Medicine, Kyoto 6068501, Japan; furukawa{at}

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Almost 70 years ago, Eysenck1 stirred up the community of psychotherapists by postulating that psychotherapies—at that time predominantly psychoanalytic—are not effective in the treatment of psychological disorders. This led to a massive surge of empirically evaluated psychotherapy research and promoted particularly the rise of cognitive behavioural therapy. Today, we know that a range of psychotherapies work across a wide variety of mental disorders and numerous meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials prove that Eysenck’s conclusion is no longer relevant. However, despite ample evidence that psychotherapy is generally efficacious, only 30% of patients achieve remission while as many as 65% leave treatment without a measurable benefit or even with deterioration.2 Therefore, psychotherapy researchers face the challenge to improve the effectiveness of their interventions. …

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  • Contributors ES drafted the editorial, and TAF and RR revised it. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests TAF reports grants and personal fees from Mitsubishi-Tanabe, personal fees from MSD, personal fees from Shionogi, outside the submitted work; In addition, TAF has a patent 2018-177688 concerning smartphone CBT apps pending, and intellectual properties for Kokoro-app licensed to Tanabe-Mitsubishi.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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