What Makes Therapy Work?

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states ...Read More

Mick Cooper, PhD, recently published a book that pulls together the research findings on the characteristics that make psychotherapy succeed and that provides advice for those looking for a therapist.  The title of his book is, Essential Research Findings in Counselling and Psychotherapy, (October, 2008). The book is reported to be very readable and, therefore available to the average reader. If interested, you can find Professor Cooper’s book at Barnes and Noble or Amazon, both of which are Online.

Professor Cooper stresses the point that it is both the motivation of the patient or client, as well as the level of engagement in the process, that makes for a successful psychotherapy. In other words, he contradicts those who would say that it is the skill and talent of the therapist, alone, that pushes the treatment forward.

Even more interesting, he asserts a principle that I have long subscribed to that it is the relationship between patient and therapist that is the essential ingredient for a successful outcome.  When there is a good fit between the two people and when the patient feels respected and listened to and trusted by the therapist, the outcome will be excellent.

Professor Duncan also states that the patient or client should look for the type of therapist and psychotherapy that best fits their problem. Therefore, someone with a phobia might be best off seeking treatment from a cognitive behavioral therapist. He makes it very clear that there is no one type of therapy that fits all people nor should there be.

This book makes sense to me.

What are your thoughts and experiences? Your comments are always appreciated.

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

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