Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Marc Diener, PhD

Second Advisor

Lauren Lipner, PhD

Third Advisor

Dustin Kahoud, PsyD


In 2021, drug overdoses were the leading cause of death in the US for those under age 50, with a toll of 100,306 lives, an increase of 28.5% from 2020 (Center for Disease Control, 2021). This increasing toll makes it imperative to identify effective research-based treatments. Psychodynamic psychotherapy (PDT) is an option for treating substance-use disorder (SUD); however, few studies have examined its effectiveness. This meta-analysis builds on Warshaw’s 2022 meta-analysis of studies on the efficacy of PDT in treating SUDs. We conducted a between-groups analysis of randomized controlled trials, analyzing post-treatment and follow-up differences between PDT and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and between PDT and drug counseling. Moderators included researcher allegiance, use of medication, and amount of intervention. The potential benefits of this study include a better understanding of the comparative efficacy of commonly used treatments and further insights into a type of treatment that is not as frequently studied. The outcomes of this meta-analysis revealed no substantial variability in treatment efficacy, thereby substantiating the central hypothesis positing PDT’s equivalence to CBT and drug counseling in addressing substance-use disorders (d = 0.088). The analysis of moderators failed to attain statistical significance regarding adjunct pharmacological treatment, RA, or treatment duration. The small overall sample size of the number of studies in the meta-analysis may have accounted for the lack of significant findings within the moderator analysis. All publication bias analyses were not statistically significant, suggesting it is unlikely that issues of publication bias impacted study results.