Second, the statement that the meta-analysis is not sufficient to
support its conclusions is a subjective claim by an individual, not one
a statistician would reach by reading the original work. Were this not
true, the analysis wouldn't have created the stir that it did.
I emphasize that all such studies are open to dispute. This is what
separates psychiatry and psychology from the non-soft sciences. But the
study's probability of being valid is about equal to that of the studies
it criticizes, something the commenter failed to note.
This is not the only study drawing that same conclusion, by the way.
There have been many studies meant to compare therapeutic methods, and
they reliably favor the methods preferred by the researchers, something
that should give any scientist pause.
The above systematic bias explains why a meta-analysis tends to cancel
out various biases in favor of particular therapeutic methods, and end
up supporting either the null hypothesis or the claim that speaking with
a sympathetic friend is a reasonable option.
Here is a reference that makes the same point, based on multiple arguments: