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When talking therapies are succeeding in producing helpful change there will be what are widely known as common factors present in the process.

The four major ones are:

The therapeutic alliance between client and practitioner — how they get on together with the work, the connection they can make between them. Usually, participants describe this as feeling they are listened to, acknowledged, respected, allowed to show themselves in lots of ways including letting down their guard to talk over vulnerabilities. There’s room for getting it wrong and it becomes easier to share alternative thoughts because there is a sense that all viewpoints count. Participants offer feedback that it is not like having a friend but it is like having a supportive anchor or influence in their routine lives. Research shows this factor to be the most positive of the big four on getting a good outcome.

The theory of practice refers to the knowledge base behind the therapist and is important too; it provides a structure to work from and check in to — outcome research concludes that the major therapy theories provide a similar benefit to each other. With careful assessment and thorough knowledge, drawing on more than one of these theories at the most appropriate moment can truly match client needs for change. (more…)

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