Not all data involving the benefits or productivity of psychotherapy ever sees the light of day. Steven Hollon with Vanderbilt Professor of Psychology and colleagues from Holland are the first to examine the efficacy of psychotherapy with the additional information from all unpublished studies. The analysis of all data was presented in the Sept. 30, 2015, edition of the journal PLOS ONE.
The analysis was based on all clinical trials of psychological treatments for depression from 1972 to 2008 supported by U. S. National Institutes of Health grants. Almost 24 percent of the studies were never published. Combining the data from all studies indicated that psychotherapy does work in the treatment of depression but psychotherapy does not work at any position near the level that published studies claim.
The refusal of peer reviewed publication of data that does not support a positive perspective of psychotherapeutic treatments for depression does not legally qualify a fraud. The authors note that peer review is a flawed process. The ultimate loser in the publishing for additional government funding is the physician and ultimately the patient. Similar results have been shown for the efficacy of the treatment of depression with antidepressants by the same group of researchers in 2008.
The main driver for researchers to hedge on the low benefits and the detrimental side effects of a psychotherapeutic treatment or a drug is in majority a need to receive funding for future research. The peer review process is complicated by the fact that the reviewers may and do have a financial interest in a facility that produces a drug or supplies a treatment. No governmental organization has any control over the process unless people are harmed and sue. The study was not funded by any grants from the NIH so the results may be viewed as valid.