Couple and family therapy outcome research in the previous decade: What does the evidence tell us?

Silver, Emma, Stratton, Peter, Nascimento, Natasha, McDonnell, Liz, Powell, Gwen and Nowotny, Ewa (2015) Couple and family therapy outcome research in the previous decade: What does the evidence tell us? Contemporary Family Therapy, 37 (1). pp. 1-12. ISSN ISSN: 0892-2764 (Print) ; 1573-3335 (Online)

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Meta-analyses of randomized control trials include only a small proportion of the published outcome research of Couple and Family Therapy. This paper surveys the ranges of published research through a systematic review of the outcome studies of family, couple, and systemic therapies published in English language peer reviewed journals in years 2000 through 2009. After application of criteria of relevance to Couple and Family Therapy and systemic practice, 225 studies were identified, summarized, and coded under 14 broad headings giving 125 potential classifications for each article. Analyses of these codings found consistent conclusions of effectiveness; differential availability and quality of research for different conditions; and quite frequent absence of important methodological information. The findings are interpreted as showing that this body of recent research supports claims of effectiveness. Although the journals included many of good quality there are substantial areas of weakness in reporting. It is concluded that there are significant influences on the body of published research that arise both from funding policies and journal practices as well as perhaps author bias. The consequences are to reduce the value of research to practitioners, to favour randomized control trials with positive evidence of the effectiveness of therapy, and to exclude publication of negative findings.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: First Online: 02 October 2014
Subjects: Psychological Therapies, Psychiatry, Counselling > Couple & Marital Therapy
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services

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