chapter  6
26 Pages

Research in child and adolescent psychotherapy: an overview


In 1989, Mary Boston wrote a classic paper in the history of child psychotherapy research. In it, she began by remarking that members of this profession `are not noted for their enthusiasm for research'. She went on to explain that `there had long been a split between the academic researcher and the clinician, each discipline pursuing its separate ways, with minimal interaction between the two, or worse, active disparagement of the other' (p. 15). On the side of the clinician, most research was seen as `meaningless and super®cial'; while on the side of the academic researcher, psychoanalytic concepts were seen as highly subjective and unsubstantiated, and clinicians were often seen as unwilling to expose their cherished ideals to scienti®c scrutiny. In what followed, Boston recognised some of the pressures on psychotherapy to engage with empirical research (especially around issues of outcome and accountability), and argued that the work of clinicians and academic researchers should be seen as `complementing and cross-fertilising each other', rather than remaining apart.