Meta-analyses of the results of randomised controlled trials of the efficacy of psychotherapy have shown that, when a researcher has a prior belief in the superiority of one of the treatment conditions within a comparative study, the results of the study tend to favour that condition. Recently, there has been a re-examination of the issue of researcher allegiance. The aim of the present paper is to examine the implications of researcher allegiance for policy and practice in the field of psychotherapy research. It is proposed that the topic of researcher allegiance can operate as a source of learning that has the potential to contribute to the advancement of psychotherapy research, by stimulating interest in the development of consumer-generated appraisals of the effectiveness of therapy, reinforcing a greater awareness of the significance of researcher reflexivity, and opening up debate around epistemological issues in research design.
- Randomised controlled trial (RCT)