Psychotherapy is the generic term used for any kind of intervention designed to help people overcome psychological problems or emotional distress.
For as long as people have suffered mental distress there have been different types of psychotherapy designed to help alleviate those problems.
Today this has culminated in over 400 different types of psychotherapy being available with each claiming superiority over the other through either ‘better’ methodologies or because that particular method has been specifically designed to deal with a particular problem.
For example, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing, Shapiro, 1988) was specifically developed to help people deal with traumatic experiences, later to be classified as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The question of which type of therapy is the ‘best’ out of all of these different types has been the subject of much research over the last 40 years and the resounding conclusion that has been reached on almost every occasion is that ALL therapies (provided they are well formulated and based on at least some sort of evidence) are roughly the same with no particular method or approach superior to any other.
Of course, the designers and creators of each of these therapy methods will argue that their specific method IS more effective than others, but these claims do NOT stand up to rigorous testing through top quality, peer-reviewed research.
Instead, what has emerged as the best explanation of what makes psychotherapy effective is that EVERY type of therapy contains ‘common factors’ which contribute to a person being able to overcome mental distress and not, as claimed by so many, a few ‘specific factors’ unique to their own methods.
Common Psychotherapy Factors
All psychotherapy approaches involve:
- A client.
- A therapist (real or virtual).
- A type of therapy.
- A therapeutic relationship.
- Unidentified factors.
Whichever way one thinks about the process of psychotherapy, it almost always involves at least two people (the client and the therapist) in a room (or virtual space), having some sort of dialogical exchange (talking) in which certain types of words (the therapy method) are exchanged resulting, hopefully, in the client feeling differently (overcoming their mental distress) to the way he/she did before the commencement of therapy.
This conversation usually proceeds more smoothly and leads to better degrees of client change when the therapist and client are able to create a positive and meaningful relationship, known as a ‘working alliance’.
These are known as the ‘common factors’ within psychotherapy with each factor contributing a certain amount to the overall outcome of the therapy.
In 2011, two highly respected researchers, John Norcross and Michael Lambert, carried out a meta-analysis (a research method in which numerous scientific research papers are combined into one large array) in order to determine the contribution that each factor played in determining the overall therapeutic outcome.
Their research concluded that the outcome variability (variance) attributable to each of these common factors was as follows:
- The client 30%
- The therapist 7%
- The type of therapy 8%
- The therapeutic relationship 12%
- Unidentified factors 40%
- Others* 3%
These others (*) include factors such as the passage of time and naturally ovecoming problems as a result of social support.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT, is the preferred type of psychotherapy at Tranceform, and in particular our own psychosocial adaptation called Tranceformental CBT.
Overcome Your Problems with our CBT Course
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is clinically proven to be effective across a range of different mental health problems.
Using our online learning platform, it is available with 2, 5 or 10 sessions of clinical support either face-to-face in the Wombourne offices, or using Zoom video facilities.
It can also be taken as a self help CBT course that will teach you the fundamental tools and techniques used throughout the mental health profession.