Introducing PIT Research

There are links to most of the key references on PIT available

See Research on PIT

There are chapters on the main outcome research studies, exploratory process studies and research on learning PIT contained in the book “Psychodynamic Interpersonal Therapy: A Conversation”. These chapters summarise the main research on PIT.


The Sheffield 1 and Sheffield 2 studies compare PIT with CBT in a cross-over design: participants are randomly assigned to sessions of PIT or CBT and after a short break they are then offered the other treatment.

The results for CBT and PIT were broadly comparable, although when 8 and 16 session versions were compared there was a small advantage to CBT in the shorter version.

The impact in the research clinic was later replicated in a more typical clinical care setting.

A Manchester study looked at long-term psychiatric out patients, most of whom had depression and showed that a brief period of PIT led to improvement and reduction in care-related costs (Guthrie et al, 1996)

Functional symptoms

(previously described as Medically Unexplained Symptoms[MUS])

There are several studies showing a significant clinical impact of PIT on upper and lower bowel disease and other physical problems.


Studies on PIT have shown how effective PIT can be in relieving symptoms in patients who self-harm. There are currently three more large studies on PIT and its impact on self harm.

Borderline personality

The research on Borderline personality has mainly been carried out in Australia, and recently there has been a large comparison between PIT and DBT in Australia,

Routine practice

PIT has also been shown to be effective in generic practice with a range of diagnoses.

Inexperienced therapists

PIT delivered by relatively inexperienced therapists has also been shown to be effective, alleviating the concern that clients are getting an unfair deal being seen by those still in training.

PIT process

There have been may studies of psychotherapy process linking research groups in Sheffield and Leeds, UK with international collaborators.

Learning psychotherapy

There have been many studies on how those learning psychotherapy can gain skills in a safe and effective way. The studies have looked at skill acquisition in psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, PWPs, social workers and counsellors.