Many people claim that psychodynamic therapy is not sufficiently ”evidence-based”. These proponents demand objective and reliable comparisons between different forms of therapies. As I said earlier, I respect this view. This is because one cannot easily have confidence in a method that one does not work with, or that lies beyond one’s personal experience. Furthermore, systematic research might help therapies and therapists to develop!
However: psychotherapy is difficult to evaluate. Its effects cannot be measured by taking a blood-pressure or an X-ray. What happens in therapy is difficult to describe to an external observer. Before starting my research project, I was looking for established methods of evaluation which might, as extensively as possible, illuminate the health of mother and baby.
- The mother-infant-relationship was measured with the “Parent-Infant Relationship Global Assessment Scale” (PIR-GAS). It was created by Zero-To-Three. This is an organization which supports research on infants’ mental health.
- The baby’s social and emotional functioning was measured through a mother report questionnaire, the “Ages and Stages Questionnaire: Social-Emotional (ASQ:SE).
- The interaction between mother and infant was assessed from video clips. This instrument is called the “Emotional Availability Scale” (EAS).
- The mother’s psychological health was assessed through mother-report questionnaires on depression (Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale; EPDS), stress (Swedish Parental Stress Questionnaire; SPSQ) and general psychological distress (Symptom Check List; SCL-90).
With these assessment methods, I hoped to get an overall picture of how the three “patients” were functioning: the mother, the baby and their relationship. In the year 2005, I began a randomized controlled study (RCT). It resulted in an academic thesis, ‘Baby worries – a randomized controlled trial of mother-infant psychoanalysis. I presented it in April 2010. You can download a lengthy summary in English from the homepage of Karolinska Institutet.
You can also go to the next web page to get a summary of the study design and results.