From the Evaluation of Psychotherapies to Research in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis

Regular Section “Epistemology”
By Jean-Michel Thurin

Twelve years have passed since the publication of the collective-expert assessment report by Inserm [Institut national de la santé et de la recherche: French National Institute for Healthcare and Research], on “Psychotherapy, Three Approaches Evaluated”. Where do we stand now? At the international level, study trials on the efficacy of the psychoanalytical approach have multiplied. In parallel to this, comparisons with wider approaches have become a priority in research in psychotherapy, to the profit of study trials focused on the conditions and the causes that intervene in processes of change. In France, an Inserm network of research projects founded on psychotherapeutic practices has been formed. Bringing together clinicians and researchers, since 2008 it has been developing an experimental methodology of therapeutic action. Based on circumstantial study of cases treated in “natural” conditions, its perspectives are clinical, practical, and theoretical. A hundred or so psychoanalysts have been participating in autism and “borderline” research hubs, and different publications have offered accounts of the observations that have been carried out.


  • evaluation of psychotherapies
  • psychoanalysis
  • process of therapeutic change
  • natural conditions
  • case studies
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