Outcome of psychodynamic child psychotherapy in routine practice.


The aim of the present naturalistic study was to explore the effectiveness of psychodynamic child psychotherapy in routine practice. The sample comprised 207 psychotherapies with children 4-12 years of age with a broad range of mental health problems. Data on two measures, children’s global assessment scale (CGAS) and strength and difficulties questionnaire (SDQ), were collected pre-post therapy. Within-group changes were analysed using repeated measures mixed-models ANOVA. Individual changes were examined by means of clinical significance. The analyses revealed improvement in general functioning, decrease in problem severity and problem impact on the child’s everyday life, as well as an increase in prosocial behaviour. For CGAS, an interaction effect was discovered suggesting a larger improvement for younger children (4-6 years) than for older children (10-12 years). After therapy, 38% (n 76) achieved clinically significant improvement. Time-limited psychotherapy proved favourable for children assigned to that particular treatment modality. The study generated similar results as previous well-controlled trials, revealing statistically significant results in a large sample and in spite the use of non-specific outcome measures. The study provides everyday evidence to the effectiveness of child psychodynamic treatment with parallel parental work for a broad range of child mental health problems.