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Minerva Psichiatrica 1999 June;40(2):61-74


language: Italian

Brief psychodinamic psychotherapy in children with emotional disorders

Muratori F., Casella C., Picchi L., Tancredi R., Milone A.


Background. Child psychiatry has enjoyed a long tradition of using brief psychotherapy with children but research literature on its efficacy in remarkable scarce. Several brief behavioral treatments are shown to be effective and similar studies are hoped in research in psychodynamic treatment. The objective of this paper is to study the efficacy of an original model of brief psychodynamic psychotherapy (BPP) applied to children with an emotional disorder.
Methods. The study has been made on a sample of 30 subjects (age 6,3-10,9) with Emotional Disorders (ICD10 criteria) divided into two groups: an experimental group of 15 subjects who underwent the therapy and a control group (15 subjects). The psychodynamic oriented treatment was composed by five sessions of family therapy and in succession by five sessions of individual therapy. The Post Hoc statistical analysis has shown no significative difference between the two groups. Each subjects was evaluated in an ambulatory setting, at the beginning and at the end of the therapy or after six months for the control group, with different instruments: CGAS, CBCL, Grid for Symptom Resolution. The data have been submitted to MANOVA statistical evaluation.
Results. The authors stress the significative differences between the two groups concerning both the symptom resolution (p<0.1) and the improvement of global functioning (p=0.045). These data are only partially confirmed by the assessment with the CBCL even if in the experimental group there are more frequent transitions from a pathological score to a normal one.
Conclusions. The good improvement both in symptom resolution and in global functioning of children who underwent the BPP shows its efficacy and the effectiveness. These improvements are also better than those reported in the literature as spontaneous remission of symptomatology. The authors point out that children with internalized disorders, with a pure emotional disorder and with an initial CGAS of 60 are more reactive to this type of psychotherapy. Finally, they emphasize the easy applicability of the model proposed of BPP after a specific training.

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