What Influences Successful Psychotherapy?

You might think the most important factor in therapy success is the skillful technique used by your therapist, or the therapist's knowledge, or their years of experience. Those are certainly important factors, but what's even more important for you is how strongly you feel aligned with your therapist. There are four main factors that influence successful psychotherapy. Let's take a look.

Finding the right therapist is important!

The Big Four

  1. The therapy technique

  2. The therapeutic alliance

  3. The client's expectation

  4. The client's extra-therapeutic factors


The Therapy Technique

The type of techniques used by your therapist will influence how well therapy goes. Think of them as tools, a hammer is good for nails but not for screws. Here are some examples of therapy techniques:

  1. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy - Focuses on thoughts, emotions, and behaviors

  2. Interpersonal Psychotherapy - Focuses on interpersonal features

  3. Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy - Focuses on nonjudgmental awareness

  4. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy - Focuses on values

  5. Psychodynamic Psychotherapy - Focuses on unconscious processes

  6. EMDR - Focuses on reprocessing traumatic experiences

  7. The list goes on and on.... there are hundreds!

...I collaborate with clients to determine which technique to use.

Most techniques can effectively treat many different disorders (e.g., anxiety, depression, and trauma). Some people benefit from one technique more than another (e.g., client 1 prefers CBT over EMDR, client 2 prefers EMDR over CBT) Also, some therapists prefer to use certain techniques more than others. I am an integral therapist who has a wide range of experience using different techniques, and I collaborate with clients to determine which technique to use. This integral approach is becoming more common.

So the technique the therapist uses, how skilled they are at using it, and how well it fits with your situation will have an influence on the success of therapy.


The Therapeutic Alliance