Economics of Psychotherapy



The paper reports the results of the analysis of modern notions about the economics of psychotherapy. Despite its great practical significance, this issue is insufficiently represented in Russian publications, arising mostly in foreign works. We consider two general concepts: efficiency and equity. The practice of research evaluation in psychotherapy distinguishes between (a) the efficacy of therapy — results of empirical psychotherapeutic research; (b) clinical (qualitative) effectiveness of therapy — results of psychotherapy in everyday practice; and (c) the notion of cost-effectiveness — a practical criterion; it characterizes the expenses for the achievement of a goal. Other expenses also ought to be taken into consideration. Additionally, we mark out progressive cost-effectiveness as a separate coefficient.

General Information

Keywords: economics of psychotherapy, efficiency, equity, clinical effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, expenses, progressive cost-effectiveness

Journal rubric: Workshop and Methods

Article type: scientific article


For citation: Ababkov V.A. Economics of Psychotherapy. Konsul'tativnaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya = Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy, 2020. Vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 164–177. DOI: 10.17759/cpp.2020280310. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


  1. Ababkov V.A. Vybor psikhoterapii: analiz literatury [Choice of psychotherapy: A review]. Zhurnal nevropatologii i psikhiatrii im. S.S. Korsakova = S.S. Korsakov Journal of Neurology and Psychiatry, 2006. Vol. 106 (11), pp. 72—75.
  2. Ababkov V.A. Personifitsirovannaya psikhoterapiya: rukovodstvo [Personified psychotherapy: A handbook]. Moscow: GEOTAR-Media, 2016. 352 p.
  3. Ababkov V.A., Karavaeva T.A., Karvasarskii B.D., et al. Algoritm otsenki effektivnosti psikhoterapii pri nevroticheskikh rasstroistvakh. Metodicheskie rekomendatsii [An algorithm for assessing the efficacy of psychotherapy in neurotic disorders. Guidebook]. Saint Petersburg: NIPNI im. Bekhtereva, 2010. 25 p.
  4. Kholmogorova A.B. (ed.). Klinicheskaya psikhologiya: v 4-kh tomakh.: uchebnik dlya stud. vyssh. ucheb. zavedenii [Clinical psychology in 4 vols. Handbook for university students]. Moscow: Akademiya Publ., 2010.
  5. Perrez M., Baumann U. (eds.). Klinicheskaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya. 3-e izd [Clinical psychology and psychotherapy. 3rd ed.]. Saint Peteresburg: Piter, 2012. 944 p. (In Russ.).
  6. Baillie A.J., Peters L. Professional training issues in evidence-based clinical psychology. In Sturmey P., Hersen M. (eds.) Handbook of Evidence-Based Practice in Clinical Psychology. Vol. 2. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, 2012, pp. 39—53.
  7. Spiegel D. (ed.). Efficacy and cost-effectiveness of psychotherapy. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press, 1999. 199 p.
  8. Fox R. Psychotherapy. Journal of American Psychoanalytic Association, 2011. Vol. 59 (2), pp. 379—392. DOI:10.1177/0003065111409035
  9. Gabbard G.O., Lazar S.G., Hornberger J., et al. The economic impact of psychotherapy: A review. American Journal of Psychiatry, 1997. Vol. 154 (2), pp. 147—155.
  10. Grawe K., Donati R., Bernauer F. Psychotherapie im Vandel. Von Konfession zur Profession. Gottingen: Hogrefe. 2001. 885 p.
  11. Sturmey P., Hersen M. (eds.). Handbook of evidence-based practice in clinical psychology. Vol. 2. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2012. 747 p.
  12. Hutubessy R., Chisholm D., Tan-Torres Edejer T. Generalized cost-effectiveness analysis for national level priority setting in the health sector [Elektronnyi resurs]. Cost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation, 2003. Vol. 1 (1). Available at: https:// (Accessed 10.04.2020). DOI:10.1186/1478-7547-1-8
  13. Jones C., Meaden A. Schizophrenia. In Sturmey P., Hersen M. (eds.) Handbook of Evidence-Based Practice in Clinical Psychology. Vol. 2. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, 2012, pp. 221—242.
  14. Knapp M., McDaid D. Economics of evidence-based practice and mental health. In Sturmey P., Hersen M. (eds.) Handbook of Evidence-Based Practice in Clinical Psychology. Vol. 2. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, 2012, pp. 71—93.
  15. Koerner N., Vorstenbosch V., Antony M.M. Panic disorder. In Sturmey P., Hersen M. (eds.) Handbook of Evidence-Based Practice in Clinical Psychology. Vol. 2. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, 2012, pp. 285—311.
  16. Krupnick J.L., Pincus H.A. The cost-effectiveness of psychotherapy: A plan for research. American Journal of Psychiatry, 1992. Vol. 149 (10), pp. 1295—1306. DOI:10.1176/ajp.149.10.1295
  17. Lambert M.J. Prevention of treatment failure. The use of measuring, monitoring, and feedback in clinical practice. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2010. 293 p.
  18. Milofsky J.E. Psychotherapy is worth it: A comprehensive review of its cost-effectiveness. American Journal of Psychiatry, 2011. Vol. 168 (1), pp. 1022—1103. DOI:10.1176/appi.ajp.2010.10081133
  19. Paris J. The intelligent clinician’s guide to DSM-5®. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. 232 p.
  20. Prochaska J.O., Norcross J.C., DiClemente C.C. Changing for good. New York: W. Morrow & Company, 1994. 304 p.
  21. Lazar S.G. (ed.). Psychotherapy is worth it: A comprehensive review of the cost-effectiveness. American Psychiatric Publishing, 2010. 359 p.
  22. Norcross J.C. (ed.). Psychotherapy relationships that work. Evidence-based responsiveness. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. 440 p.
  23. Puschner B., Kraft S. Kosteneffektivitat ambulanter Psychotherapie. Psychotherapeut, 2008. Vol. 53, pp. 268—276.
  24. Roth A, Fonagy P. What works for whom? A critical review of psychotherapy research. New York: Guilford, 1996. 484 p.
  25. Wang P.S., Aguilar-Gaxiola S., Alonso J., et al. Use the mental health services for anxiety, mood, and substance disorder in 17 countries in the WHO world mental health surveys. Lancet, 2007. Vol. 370 (9590), pp. 841—850. DOI:10.1016/S0140- 6736(07)61414-7

Information About the Authors

Valentin A. Ababkov, Doctor of Medicine, Professor, Professor, Chair of Medical Psychology and Psychophysiology, Psychological Department, Saint-Petersburg State University, St.Petersburg, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



Total: 635
Previous month: 7
Current month: 0


Total: 285
Previous month: 8
Current month: 0