Factors For The Success Of Psychotherapy

Factors for the success of Psychotherapy

Some people report having gone to different psychologists; In some cases they have tried different forms of therapy, carrying a problem for years and it seems that nothing they have done has worked for them.

Are they lost cases? Do they have no remedy?

Different currents of psychotherapy

First of all, a little context. In psychology there are different theoretical models or schools of psychotherapy, something similar occurs in the field of physics, where Newton’s model and Einstein’s model coexist and each one is especially suitable for describing certain phenomena.

Similarly, in psychology we have different currents such as psychoanalytic theory, humanistic models, brief strategic therapy, gestalt, the systemic model or cognitive-behavioral therapy.

There has been an old debate for years about If all schools of psychology are equally effective in treating mental disorders. It is true that not all of them have the same number of studies that support their effectiveness, as it is also true that the cognitive-behavioral model – due to its particular way of proceeding – is the one with the most research that supports its effectiveness.

Now, does this mean that the rest of the models are not valid or are less valid? Probably not.

The success factors of psychological therapy

Experts in the field of research who try to unravel the factors that make psychotherapy effective distinguish between two types of factors: common factors and specific factors.

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What is the difference? Specific factors are those “particular ingredients” that a specific psychotherapy model has and that other models do not have. For example:

And the common factors?

The common factors are “those other ingredients” that all psychological therapies have.. Here we refer to issues such as the climate of trust that is created between the patient and the psychologist, the patient’s expectations regarding the therapy or in relation to the knowledge and skill of the psychologist, the commitment on the part of both to work for the benefit of the patient. patient and pursuing a previously agreed common objective, etc.

These factors also include the personal characteristics of the psychologist, that is, the aspects of his personality that facilitate the development of this climate of trust, such as his ability to listen, a genuine interest in the patient’s well-being, the willingness to want to alleviate suffering, honesty, empathy and many other variables such as sense of humor.

And does all of this have an effect on therapy?

Absolutely: yes. So much so that common factors are more important than specific factors when it comes to explaining why psychological therapy works (or doesn’t).

Of all the factors that have been studied when determining effectiveness, the most important is the therapeutic alliance: which is something like the agreement between the patient and the psychologist regarding the objectives of the therapy, the procedures by which those objectives will be reached and that bond of collaboration and trust that is generated between them.


Rapport is a word of French origin; Psychology has adopted this term and it is used to refer to that relationship of trust, harmony and rapport that is established in the psychotherapeutic space.

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It is a fundamental element and without which psychological therapy simply cannot work, it is like trying to cook having all the ingredients but without taking into account the times, the quantities and all those issues that make that dish so special.


There are several ways to carry out therapy, each school has its own way of proceeding and its specific factors. Common factors are present in all forms of practicing psychology and are the most determining when it comes to achieving success. Rapport is one of these factors, the most important of all, without which therapy cannot work.

All forms of psychotherapy that have been recognized are acceptable and valid, therefore, when determining effectiveness, the most important thing is to choose a good psychologist who knows how to correctly apply the necessary procedures and who has the human characteristics necessary to understand , connect and help people.