Psychotherapy is a non-pharmacological intervention (NPI) like any other

Psychotherapy is a non-pharmacological intervention (NPI) like any other

Lecture given at the AFPSA – SFPS workshop, October 13, Psychology Department, Université de Bordeaux titled “Enjeux et défis de l’évaluation des prises en charge non médicamenteuses: recherche et intervention auprès de groupes restreints” (French).

It is readily admitted that the health benefit of psychotherapy or a health prevention program depends on the professional, the participant and the context. The contribution of the method and the techniques used would not count. What if we thought otherwise?

What if psychotherapy had benefits for health and well-being but also risks? And if methods were superior to others to treat or prevent a health problem? What if the era of intuitive assembly of techniques and theories was no longer enough? What if the information to the patient of the content became obligatory? What if these methods could be reimbursed systematically by health insurance and/or mutual insurance? And if the initial and continuing training of psychologists was as much concerned with science-based practices as with abstract processes and theories? Asking these questions brings psychotherapy methods and health prevention actions into the era of non-pharmacological interventions (NPI).

Today’s psychotherapy and health prevention actions are similar to what the drug was 50 years ago. This sentence Gilles Bouvenot (2006, p.13), drug clinical researcher, is explicit on the matter: “until the sixties, many therapeutic interventions had yet to only justification if one can say, that the strength of routine, credulous attachment to traditions, or generalization from a few occasional and anecdotal examples abusively called professional experience. “In a world of healthcare which is making its “cure” revolution, it has moved towards care/prevent since the years 2010, in a context of rationalization of the offer of health solutions, in a digital and media universe subjected to the worst manipulations and disinformation, basing practices in psychotherapy and health education on science and in particular rigorous intervention studies seems to be the only way out. This does not mean exclusively randomized controlled trials, but rather innovations in the measurement and analysis of data especially with the advent of new technologies and collaborative work on a large scale.

The open access slideshow incorporates psychotherapeutic methods and health prevention actions into the field of non-pharmacological interventions (NPI) and encourages interventional and methodological research. The challenge is to scientifically demonstrate their real value at the health and quality of life, not naturally make recipes to apply, usually made critical and erroneous of Evidence Based Medicine and Evidence Based Psychology.

Basing psychotherapy and health prevention practices on science means assuming that methods are better and less risky for health than others. If you follow this logic, welcome to the MNI.

The conference invites researchers and practitioners in psychology to become more interested in interventional research for psychotherapies and health prevention actions and encourages the implementation of a validation, implementation and monitoring paradigm to improve the benefits for patients and professional practices.



Bouvenot G, Vray M (2006), Essais cliniques : théorie, pratique et critique (4e edition). Paris: Médecine Sciences Publications.

Haute Autorité de Santé (2011). Développement de la prescription de thérapeutiques non médicamenteuses validées. Paris: HAS Edition.

Ninot G (2014). Définir la notion d’intervention non médicamenteuseBlog en Santé, A16.

Pour citer cet article du Blog en Santé ©

Ninot G (2017). Psychotherapy is a non-pharmacological intervention (NPI) like any other. Blog en Santé, C7.

© Copyright 2017 Grégory Ninot. All rights reserved.

6 thoughts on “Psychotherapy is a non-pharmacological intervention (NPI) like any other
  1. haoues says:

    Votre article est très intéressant dans la mesure où il nous aide à se familiariser avec des concepts et des notions scientifiques dans le domaine de psychologie…

  2. Mélissa PANGNY says:

    Article très intéressant pour moi qui suis psychologue !

  3. SALOU says:

    J’ai fait une psychothérapie suite à une dépression post partum. J’ai suivi des soins psychologiques pendant 10 ans. J’étais en grave dépression. J’habitais en Essonne et j’étais encore plus en dépression au fil des années. Le gros suivi psychologique que j’ai suivi m’a permis d’aller mieux mais cela a duré 10 ANNEES.

  4. Louis says:

    Dans les années qui viennent les solutions non médicamenteuses de ce type seront des traitements favorisés et prescris par les médecins en priorité !

  5. john says:

    Cette article est incroyable, merci !

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