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Learn More About the Common Factors


Persuasion & Healing:

A Comparative Study of Psychotherapy

The classic that ignited awareness and excitement about the common factors. Jerome Frank describes his exploration to find the primary factors that lead to  healing in other cultures as well as change in Western psychotherapy.

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The Heart & Soul of Change:

Delivering What Works in Therapy

A valuable book for any psychotherapist, The Heart & Soul of Change is a smart and engaging look at the research that makes therapy effective. An excellent guide for a client-centered approach.


Bergin and Garfield's Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change

A classic text that is required in many graduate programs, "the Handbook" distills the current research for clinicians into tight and useful chapters.

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Psychotherapy Relationships that Work:

Evidence-Based Responsiveness

This book takes a deep look at the client-therapist relationship. It puts the current research about the vital therapeutic alliance into the hands of clinicians.

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Common Factors in

Couple and Family Therapy

This clearly written book explains how the common factors can deftly be incorporated into work with families and couples. It provides a concise overview of the common factors field and is full of useful practice guidance.


The Great Psychotherapy Debate:

The Evidence for What Makes Psychotherapy Work

This book answers the debate about which therapy model is the most effective through a rigorous meta-analytic examination of hundreds of psychotherapy outcome studies. It turns out there is relative equivalency in effectiveness - which underscores the vital role of the common factors.

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How and Why are Some

Therapists Better Than Others?

Research shows most therapists rate themselves in the top 25%, which is statistically impossible. Learn what factors truly make a therapist superior and  add them to your work.

Site References

Asay, T. R., & Lambert, M. J. (1999). The empirical case of the common factors in psychotherapy: quantitative findings. In M. A. Hubble, B. L. Duncan, & S. D. Miller (Eds.), The heart and soul of change: what works in therapy (pp. 23-55). Washington DC: American Psychological Association.

Barkham, M., Lutz, W., Lambert, M. J., & Saxon, D. (2017). Therapist effects, effective therapists, and the law of variability. In L. G. Castonguay & C. E. Hill (Eds.), How and why are some therapists better than others?: Understanding therapist effects (pp. 13-36). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association.


Behan, D. (2018). Demoralization during medical illness: a case of common factors treatment. Clinical Social Work Journal (2018).

​Behan, D. (2022). Do clients train therapists to become eclectic and use the common factors? A qualitative study listening to experienced psychotherapists. BMC psychology, 10(1), 1-13.

Benish, S. G., Quintana, S., & Wampold, B. E. (2011). Culturally adapted psychotherapy and the legitimacy of myth: A direct-comparison meta-analysis. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 58(3), 279-289.


​Bohart, A. C., & Tallman, K. (2010). Clients: The neglected common factor in psychotherapy. The heart and soul of change: Delivering what works in therapy, 2, 83-111.

Bohart. A. C., & Wade, A. G. (2013). The Client in Psychotherapy. In M. J. Lambert (Ed.), Bergin and Garfield’s Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change (6th ed., pp. 219-257). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Brody, H., & Miller, F. G. (2011). Lessons from recent research about the placebo effect—from art to science. Jama, 306(23), 2612-2613.306(23):2612-2613. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1850

Castonguay, L. G., Constantino, M. J., & Holtforth, M. G. (2006). The working alliance: Where are we and where should we go? Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 43(3), 271-279.


Constantino, M. J., Vîslă, A., Coyne, A. E., & Boswell, J. F. (2018). A meta-analysis of the association between patients’ early treatment outcome expectation and their posttreatment outcomes. Psychotherapy, 55(4), 473.


Constantino, M. J., Coyne, A. E., Boswell, J. F., Iles, B. R., & Vîslă, A. (2018). A meta-analysis of the association between patients’ early perception of treatment credibility and their posttreatment outcomes. Psychotherapy, 55(4), 486.

Duncan, B. L., Miller, S. D., Wampold, B. E., & Hubble, M. A. (Eds.). (2010). The heart and soul of change: Delivering what works in therapy (2nd ed.). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association.


Duncan, B. L., & Reese, R. J. (2015). The Partners for Change Outcome Management System (PCOMS) revisiting the client’s frame of reference. Psychotherapy, 52(4), 391-401.


Flückiger, C., Del Re, A. C., Wampold, B. E., & Horvath, A. O. (2018). The alliance in adult psychotherapy: A meta-analytic synthesis. Psychotherapy, 55(4), 316-340.          

Frank, J.D. & Frank, J.B. (1993) Persuasion and Healing: A Comparative Study of Psychotherapy. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London.


Gaynor, S. T., Weersing, V. R., Kolko, D. J., Birmaher, B., Heo, J., & Brent, D. A. (2003). The prevalence and impact of large sudden improvements during adolescent therapy for depression: A comparison across cognitive-behavioral, family, and supportive therapy. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 71(2), 386.

Horvath, A. O., Del Re, A. C., Flückiger, C., & Symonds, D. (2011). Alliance in individual psychotherapy. Psychotherapy, 48(1), 9-16.

Ilardi, S. S., & Craighead, W. E. (1994). The role of nonspecific factors in cognitive-behavior therapy for depression. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 1(2), 138-156.


Lambert, M. J. (1992). Psychotherapy outcome research: Implications for integrative and eclectical therapists. In J. C. Norcross & M. R. Goldfried (Eds.), Handbook of psychotherapy integration (pp. 94-129). New York, NY, US: Basic Books.

Lambert, M. J., & Kleinstäuber, M. (2016). When people change, and its relation to specific therapy techniques and common factors. Verhaltenstherapie, 26(1), 32-39.


Lambert, M. J., Whipple, J. L., & Kleinstäuber, M. (2018). Collecting and delivering progress feedback: A meta-analysis of routine outcome monitoring. Psychotherapy, 55(4), 520-537.

Lambert, Michael J., Sol Louis Garfield, and Allen E. Bergin. (2004) Handbook of psychotherapy and behavior change. New York: John Wiley & Sons.


Lambert, M. J. (Ed.). (2013). Bergin and Garfield's handbook of psychotherapy and behavior change (p. 864). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.


Norcross, J. C. (2010). The therapeutic relationship. In B. L. Duncan, S. D. Miller, B. E. Wampold, & M. A. Hubble (Eds.), The heart and soul of change: Delivering what works in therapy (pp. 113-141). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association.


Norcross, J. C., & Lambert, M. J. (2018). Psychotherapy relationships that work III. Psychotherapy, 55(4), 303-315.

​Norcross, J. C., & Wampold, B. E. (2018). A new therapy for each patient: Evidence‐based relationships and responsiveness. Journal of clinical psychology, 74(11), 1889-1906. DOI: 10.1002/jclp.22678


Orlinsky, D. E., Ronnestad, M. H., & Willutzki, U. (2004). Fifty years of psychotherapy process-outcome research: Continuity and change. Bergin and Garfield’s handbook of psychotherapy and behavior change, 5, 307-389.

Owen, J., & Hilsenroth, M. J. (2014). Treatment adherence: The importance of therapist flexibility in relation to therapy outcomes. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 61(2), 280-288.


Safran, J., Muran, C. & Proskurov, B. (2009) Alliance, negotiation, and rupture resolution. In Levy, R. A., & Ablon, J. S. (Eds.), Handbook of evidence-based psychodynamic psychotherapy: Bridging the gap between science and practice. Totowa, NJ, US: Humana Press.


Stiles, W. B. (2009). Responsiveness as an obstacle for psychotherapy outcome research: It's worse than you think. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 16(1), 86-91.


Sue, D. W. (2016). Race talk and the conspiracy of silence: Understanding and facilitating difficult dialogues on race. John Wiley & Sons.


Swift, J. K., & Derthick, A. O. (2013). Increasing hope by addressing clients’ outcome expectations. Psychotherapy, 50(3), 284. DOI: 10.1037/a0031941

Tambling, R. B. (2012). A literature review of therapeutic expectancy effects. Contemporary Family Therapy, 34(3), 402-415.

Vasquez, M. J. (2007). Cultural difference and the therapeutic alliance: An evidence-based analysis. American Psychologist, 62(8), 878.

Wampold, B. E. (2015). How important are the common factors in psychotherapy? An update. World Psychiatry, 14(3), 270-277.


Wampold, B. E., Baldwin, S. A., Holtforth, M. g., & Imel, Z. E. (2017). What characterizes effective therapists? In L. G. Castonguay & C. E. Hill (Eds.), How and why are some therapists better than others?: Understanding therapist effects (pp. 37-53). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association.


Wampold, B. E., & Imel, Z. E. (2015). The great psychotherapy debate: The evidence for what makes psychotherapy work (2nd ed.). New York, NY, US: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.


Whipple, J. L., Lambert, M. J., Vermeersch, D. A., Smart, D. W., Nielsen, S. L., & Hawkins, E. J. (2003). Improving the effects of psychotherapy: The use of early identification of treatment and problem-solving strategies in routine practice. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 50(1), 59-68.

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