By S.J. Rachman and G.T. Wilson (Auth.)

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Extra resources for The Effects of Psychological Therapy

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As the follow-up period averaged some 20 months and the therapeutic period some 6lA months, "this fact alone casts great doubt on Eysenck's data on spontaneous remission which led him to the false conclusion that patients did better without treatment than with treatment". Leaving aside the fact that Cappon unfortunately lost approximately half of his sample between termination of treatment and follow-up, we can perhaps leave uncontested his conclusion that many of the patients got worse after treatment.

In a later study employing similar methods, Giel et aL (1978) found that twenty-nine neurotic patients who had been identified during a survey of a Dutch village in 1969 showed a large significant improvement when reassessed 5 years later. According to the authors, "approximately two-thirds were found to have recovered" (p. 235). They found that the persistence of psychiatric problems was related to adverse life experiences, and at the same time obtained information to support the idea that favourable life events exert a "therapeutic" influence on neurotic problems.

277). g. Eysenck, 1963a or b, 1979). It should be clear from earlier publications and the present work that the term spontaneous remission is used to describe improvements (in neurotic disorders) which occur in the absence of formal psychological treat­ ment. Undergoing a psychiatric examination, even with a possible view to treatment, does not constitute treatment — although it has to be said that there are indications that a full diagnostic consultation may have surprising therapeutic value. Discussing one's problems with a relative, lawyer, priest, or neighbour does not constitute treatment.

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