Psychoanalytic therapy: The Eysenck argument

Edward Erwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


H. J. Eysenck's (1952, 1963, 1966) criticisms of psychoanalytic therapy have recently been rejected by several psychologists. In 1952, Eysenck assessed the effectiveness of both psychoanalytic and nonpsychoanalytic psychotherapies. Based on a review of the literature, and referring to 24 studies covering over 7,000 cases, he concluded that the data failed to prove that psychotherapy facilitates the recovery of neurotics. One objection is that his argument mistakenly assumes an inflated spontaneous remission rate; another is that his interpretation of some of the studies he cites is radically defective. It has also been argued that more recent studies provide fresh evidence for the effectiveness of psychoanalysis. The present article recontructs Eysenck's original argument and tries to show how it can be defended against recent criticisms. (52 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-443
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 1980


  • psychoanalysis & clinical effectiveness, analysis of H. J. Eysenck's arguments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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