International Journal of Psychology and Counselling
Subscribe to IJPC
Full Name*
Email Address*

Article Number - FF3FDA560309


Vol.8(7), pp. 81-95 , August 2016
DOI: 10.5897/IJPC2016.0398
ISSN: 2141-2499



Review

The framework for integrating common and specific factors in therapy: A resolution



Yii-Nii Lin
  • Yii-Nii Lin
  • Center for Teacher Education, Graduate Institute of Learning Sciences, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan.
  • Google Scholar







 Received: 02 March 2016  Accepted: 19 August 2016  Published: 31 August 2016

Copyright © 2016 Author(s) retain the copyright of this article.
This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0


A framework for integrating common and specific factors in therapy is provided in this study. The key to integration is employing the common factors as fundamental principles; meanwhile, incorporating a specific model and unique techniques carefully to respond to the client’s needs, demographic variables, and ethnic/cultural characteristics. The four major constructs of common factors (that is, client characteristics, therapist characteristics, process of change, and therapeutic context) are discussed. The four important therapy paradigms (analytic-dynamic, cognitive-behavioral, humanistic-experiential, and systemic therapies), in which the important specific factors are derived from, are also delineated. The author revised and extended the generic model and the process-based model to provide a better framework in understanding both types of factors. The main features of these two models have been integrated within the three phases: pre-therapy, process of therapy and post-therapy. In order to enhance the optimal effectiveness of therapy, the integration should follow three principles: using the findings of empirical studies, matching the client’s variables, and responding to the notion of multicultural counseling. Implications for therapy research, training/education and clinical practice are highlighted.

 

Key words: Common factor, specific factor, counseling, psychotherapy.

Applebaum SA (1982). Challenges to traditional psychotherapy form the "new therapies." Am. Psychol. 37:1002-1008.
Crossref

 

Ardito RB, Rabellino D (2011). Therapeutic alliance and outcome of Psychotherapy: Historical excursus, measurements, and prospects for research. Front Psychol. 2:270.
Crossref

 
 

Arkowitz H (2003). Integrative theories of therapy. In: Wachtell PL, Messer SB, eds. Theories of psychotherapy: Origins and evolution. Washington, D. C.: Am. Psychol. Assoc. 227-288.

 
 

Assay TP, Lambert MJ (1999). The empirical case for the common factors in therapy: Quantitative findings. In Duncan BL, Hubble MA, Miller SD, eds. The heart and soul of change. Washington, D.C: Am. Psychol. Assoc. 23-35.
Crossref

 
 

Atkinson DR, Kim BSK, Caldwell R (1998). Rating of helper roles by multicultural psychologists and Asian American students. J. Coun. Psychol. 45:414-423.
Crossref

 
 

Atkinson DR, Lowe SM (1995). The role of ethnicity, cultural knowledge, and conventional techniques in counseling and psychotherapy. In: Ponterotto JG, Casas JM, Suzuki LA, Alexander CM, eds. Handbook of Multicultural Counseling. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage: 387-414.

 
 

Beck AT (1997). The past and future of cognitive therapy. J. Psycho. Practice. Res. 6(4):276-84.

 
 

Beck JS (2011). Cognitive therapy: basics and beyond. NY: Guilford Press.

 
 

Bergin AE, Garfield SL (1994). Overview, trends, and future issues. In: Bergin AE, Garfield SL, eds. Handbook of psychotherapy and behavioral change: An empirical analysis. NY: John Wiley: pp. 783-817.

 
 

Berman JS, Norton NC (1985). Does professional training make a therapist more effective? Psychol. Bull. 98:401-407.
Crossref

 
 

Beutler LE (1989). The misplaced role of theory in psychotherapy integration. J. Integrative and Eclectic Psychother. 8:17-22.

 
 

Beutler LE, Clarkin JF (1990). Systematic treatment selection: Toward targeted therapeutic interventions. New York, NY: Brunner/Mazel, Inc.

 
 

Beutler LE, Consoli AJ (1992). Systemic eclectic psychotherapy. In: J. C. Norcross & M. R. Goldfried (Eds.), Handbook of psychotherapy integration. NY: Basic Books pp. 264-299.

 
 

Beutler LE, Consoli AJ, Williams RE (1995). Integrative and eclectic therapies in practice. In: Bongar B, Beutler, LE (Eds.), Comprehensive textbook of psychotheapy: Theory and practice. NY: Oxford University Press. pp. 274-295.

 
 

Beutler LE, Crago M, Arizmendi TG (1986). Therapist variables in psychotherapy process and outcome. In: S. L. Garfield & A. E. Bergin (Eds.), Handbook of psychotherapy and behavior change. 3rd ed. NY: Wiley. pp. 257-310.

 
 

Beutler LE, Mitchel R (1981). Differential psychotherapy outcome among depressed and impulsive patients as a function of analytic and experiential treatment procedures. Psychiatry 44:297-306.

 
 

Bohart AC, Wugalter S (1991). Changes in experiential knowing as a common dimension in psychotherapy. J. Integrative and Eclectic Psychother. 10:14-37.

 
 

Bordin ES (1994). Theory and research on the therapeutic alliance: New directions. In: Horvath AO, Greenberg LS, eds. The working alliance: Theory, research, and practice. NY: Wiley: pp. 13-37.

 
 

Brown C (2015). Understanding person-centered counseling: A personal journey. London: Sage.
Crossref

 
 

Carr ER, Szymanski DM (2011). Need for social justice initiatives concerning the sexual objectification of women. Couns. Psychol. 39:164-170.
Crossref

 
 

Casas JM (1995). Counseling and psychotherapy with racial/ethnic minority groups in theory and practice. In: Bongar B, Beutler LE, eds. Comprehensive textbook of psychotherapy: Theory and practice. New York, NY: Oxford University Press pp. 311-335.

 
 

Castonguay LG, Goldfried MR, Wiser S, Raue PJ, Hayes AM (1996). Predicting the effect of cognitive therapy for depression: A study of unique and common factors. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 64: 497-504.
Crossref

 
 

Chambless DL, Ollendick TH (2001). Empirically supported psychological interventions: controversies and evidence. Annu. Rev. Psychol. 52:685-716.
Crossref

 
 

Corey G (2012). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy. 9th ed. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Co.

 
 

Cox WM, Klinger E, Blount JP (1999). Systematic motivational counseling: Treatment manual. Unpublished manuscript, University of Wales, Bangor, UK.

 
 

Culley S, Bond T (2011). Integrative counseling skills in action. London: Sage.

 
 

DeRubeis RJ, Crits-Christoph P (1998). Empirically supported individual and group psychological treatments for adult mental disorders. J. Cons. Clin. Psychol. 66(1):37-52.
Crossref

 
 

Deveaux F (2014). Freud and psychoanalytic theory. In: Parsons RD, Zhang N, eds. Counseling theory: Guiding reflective practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications pp. 81-108.

 
 

Duncan BL (2002). The founder of common factors: A conversation with Saul Rosenzwieg. J. Psychother. Integ. 12(1):10-31.
Crossref

 
 

Fishman DB, Rotgers F, Franks CM (1992). Paradigms in behavior therapy: Present and promise. New York: Springer.

 
 

Flaskerud JH, Soldevilla EQ (1986). Filipino and Vietnamese clients: Utilizing an Asian mental health center. J. Psychosoc. Nurs. 24:32-36.

 
 

Frank JD (1973). Therapeutic components shared by all psychotherapies. In: Harvey JH, Parks MM, eds. The master lecture series. Psychotherapy research and behavior change. Washington, DC. Am. Psychol. Assoc. 1:77-122.

 
 

Frank JD (1982). Therapeutic components shared by all psychotherapies. In Harvey JH, Parks MM, eds. The master lecture series. Psychotherapy research and behavior change. Washington, D.C. Am. Psychol. Assoc. 1:9-37.

 
 

Frank JD, Frank J (1991). Persuasion and healing. 3rd ed. Baltimore: Jones Hopkins University Press.

 
 

Garfield SL (1992). Eclectic psychotherapy: a common factors approach. In: Norcross IC, Goldfried MR, eds. Handbook of psychotherapy integration. NY: Basic books pp. 169-201.

 
 

Gaston L (1990). The concept of the alliance and its role in psychotherapy: Theoretical and empirical considerations. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training 27(2):143-153.
Crossref

 
 

Gelso CJ, Hayes JA (1998). The psychotherapy relationship: Theory, research, and practice. New York, NY: Wiley.

 
 

Goldberg SB, Del Re AC, Hoyt WT, Davis JM (2014). The secret ingredient in mindfulness interventions? A case for practice quality over quantity. J. Couns. Psychol. 61(3):491.
Crossref

 
 

Goldfried MR (1982). On the history of therapeutic integration. Behav. Ther. 13:572-593.
Crossref

 
 

Goldfried MR (1991). Research issues in psychotherapy integration. J. Psychother. Integrat. 1:5-25.
Crossref

 
 

Greenberg L, Rice L, Elliott R (1993). Facilitating emotional change: The moment-by-moment process. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

 
 

Grencavage LM, Norcross JC (1990). Where are the commonalities among the therapeutic common factors? Prof. Psy. Res. Prac. 21: 372-378.
Crossref

 
 

Gross DR, Capuzzi D (2011). Helping relationships: From core dimensions to brief approaches. In: Capuzzi D, Gross DR, eds. Counseling and psychotherapy. 5th ed. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.

 
 

Hofmann SG, Asnaani A, Vonk IJJ, Sawyer AT, Fang A (2012). The Efficacy of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Review of Meta-analyses. Cognit . Ther. Res. 36(5):427-440.
Crossref

 
 

Hollon SD, Beck AT (2004). Cognitive and cognitive behavioral therapies. In: Lambert MJ, eds. Garfield and Bergin's Handbook of psychotherapy and behavior change: An empirical analysis. 5th ed. New York, NY: Wiley pp. 447-492.

 
 

Horvath AO, Greenberg LS (1994). The working alliance: Theory, research, and practice. New York, NY: Wiley.

 
 

Hubble BL, Duncan MA, Miller SD (1999). The heart and soul of change. Washington, D. C.: American Psychological Association.
Crossref

 
 

Jacobson NS, Dobson KS, Truax PA, Addis ME, Koerner K, Gollan JK, Gortner E, Prince SE (1996). A component analysis of cognitive-behavioral treatment of depression. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 64(2):295-304.
Crossref

 
 

Kalodner CR (2011). Cognitive-behavioral theories. In: Capuzzi D, Gross DR, eds. Counseling and psychotherapy: Theories and interventions. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association pp. 193-214.

 
 

Karasu TB (1986). The specificity versus nonspecificity dilemma: Toward identifying therapeutic change agents. Am. J. Psychiatry 143:687-695.
Crossref

 
 

Kazdin AE, Weisz JR (1998). Identifying and developing empirically supported child and adolescent treatments. J. Cons. Clini Psy. 66:16-36.
Crossref

 
 

Kenney GE (1994). Multicultural investigation of counseling expectations and preferences. J. College Student Psychother. 9:21-39.
Crossref

 
 

Kiesler DJ (1994). Standardization of intervention: The tie that binds psychotherapy research and practice. In: Talley PF, Strupp HH, Butler SF, eds. Psychotherapy research and practice: Bridging the gap. New York, NY: Basic Books pp. 143-153.

 
 

Kline F, Acosta FX, Austin W, Johnson RG Jr. (1980). The misunderstood Spanish-speaking patient. Am. J. Psychiatry 137(12):1530-1533.
Crossref

 
 

Lambert MJ (1991). Introduction to psychotherapy research. In: Beutler LE, Crago M, eds. Psychotherapy research: An international review of programmatic studies. Washington, DC: Am. Psychol. Assoc. pp. 1-23.
Crossref

 
 

Lambert MJ, Bergin AE (1994). The effectiveness of psychotherapy. In Bergin AE, Garfield SL, eds. Handbook of psychotherapy and behavioral change: An empirical analysis. New York, NY: John Wiley pp. 143-184.

 
 

Lambert MJ, Cattani-Thompson C (1996). Current findings regarding the effectiveness of counseling: Implications for practice. J. Couns. Dev. 74:601-608.
Crossref

 
 

Lambert MJ, Garfield SL, Bergin AE (2004). Overview, trends, and future issues. In: Lambert MJ, eds. Bergin and Garfield's handbook of psychotherapy and behavior change. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. pp. 805-821.

 
 

Lambert MJ, Ogles BM (2004). The efficacy and effectiveness of psychotherapy. In: Lambert, MJ, eds. Bergin and Garfield's handbook of psychotherapy and behavior change. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. pp. 139-193.

 
 

Leibert T, Smith JB, Agaskar VR (2011). Relationship between the working alliance and social support on counseling outcome. J. Clin. Psychol. 67:709-719.
Crossref

 
 

Lin Y (2003). Conceptualizing brief eclectic therapy from a stage perspective. Guidance J. 24:207-235.

 
 

Lin Y (2005). Conceptualizing common factors in counseling. Guidance J. 27(1):1-21.

 
 

Luborsky L (1984). Principles of psychoanalytic psychotherapy: A manual for supportive-expressive treatment. New York, NY: Basic Books.

 
 

Luborsky L, Crits-Christoph P, McLellan AT, Woody G, Piper W, Liberman B, Imber S, Pilkonis P (1986). Do therapists vary much in their success: Findings from four outcome studies. Am. J. Orthopsy. 56(4):501-512.
Crossref

Luborsky L (1994). Therapeutic alliance as predictors of psychotherapy outcomes: Factors explaining the predictive success. In: Horvath AO, Greenberg, LS, eds. The working alliance: Theory, research, and practice. New York, NY: Wiley pp. 38-50.

 

Lum RG (1982). Mental health attitudes and opinions of Chinese. In: Jones EE, Korchin SJ, eds. Minority mental health. New York, NY: Prager pp. 165-189.

 
 

MacCluskie K (2010). Acquiring counseling skills: Integrating theory, multiculturalism, and self-awareness. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Merrill.

 
 

McFadden J (1996). A transcultural perspective: Reaction to C. H. Patterson's "Multicultural counseling: From diversity to universality." J. Couns. Dev. 74:232-235.
Crossref

 
 

Meichenbaum D (1997). The evolution of a cognitive-behavior therapist. In Zeig, JK, eds. The evolution of psychotherapy: The third conference. 96-104. New York, NY: Burnner/Mazel.

 
 

Messer SB, Wampold BE (2002). Let's face facts: Common factors are more potent than specific therapy ingredients. Clin. Psychol. Sci. Pract. 9(1):21-25.
Crossref

 
 

Miller JB, Jordan JV, Kaplan AG, Stiver IP, Surrey JL (1997). Some misconceptions and reconceptions of a relational approach. In: Jordan JV, eds. Women's growth in diversity: More writings form the Stone Center. New York, NY: Guilford Press pp. 25-49.

 
 

Mitchell MD, Gehrman P, Perlis M, Umscheid CA (2012). Comparative effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia: a systematic review. BMC Fam. Pract. 13:40.
Crossref

 
 

Moss R, Glowiak MV (2013). Therapeutic alliance and the helping relationship. In: Capuzzi D, Gross DR, eds. Intro to the Counseling Profession. 6th ed. New York, NY: Routledge pp. 3-29.

 
 

Nelson-Jones R (2013). Introduction to counseling skills: Text and activities. London: Sage.

 
 

Nelson ML, Allstetter-Neufeldt S (1996). Building on an empirical foundation: Strategies to enhance good practice. J. Couns. Dev. 74:609-615.
Crossref

 
 

Norcross JC, Saltzman N, Guinta LC (1990). Contention and convergence in clinical practice. In: Saltzman N, Norcross JC, eds. Therapy wars. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass: 242-260.

 
 

Okonji J, Ososkie J, Pulos S (1996). Preferred style and ethnicity of counselors by African American males. J. Black. Psychol. 22(3):329-339.
Crossref

 
 

Orlinsky DE, Howard KI (1995). Unity and diversity among psychotherapies: A comparative perspective. In: Bongar B, Beutler LE, eds. Comprehensive textbook of psychotherapy: Theory and practice. New York, NY: Oxford University Press pp. 1-23.

 
 

Orlinsky DE, Rønnestad MH, Willutzki U (2004). Fifty years of psychotherapy process-outcome research: Continuity and change. In: Lambert MJ, eds. Bergin and Garfield's handbook of psychotherapy and behavior change. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. pp. 307-393.

 
 

Paivio SC, Greenberg LS (1995). Resolving unfinished business: efficacy of experiential therapy using empty chair dialogue. J. Couns. Clin. Psychol. 63:419-425.
Crossref

 
 

Parsons RD, Zhang J (2014). Counseling theory: Guiding reflective practice. London: Sage.

 
 

Patterson CH (1984). Empathy, warmth, and genuineness in psychotherapy: a review of reviews. Psychotherapy 21:431-438.
Crossref

 
 

Patterson CH, Watkins CE (1996).Theories of psychotherapy. New York, NY: HarperCollins College Publishers.

 
 

Piper WE, Joyce AS, McCallum M, Azim HF (1993). Concentration and correspondence of transference interpretations in short-term psychotherapy. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 61:586-595.
Crossref

 
 

Pinsof WM (1994). An integrative systems perspective on the therapeutic alliance: Theoretical, clinical, and research implications. In Horvath AO, Greenberg LS, eds. The working alliance: Theory, research, and practice. New York, Wiley pp. 173-198.

 
 

Porter JY (2014). Cognitive-behavioral theories. In Parsons RD, Zhang N, eds. Counseling theory: Guiding reflective practice. London: Sage Publications pp. 229-252.

 
 

Prochaska JO, Norcross JC (1999). Systems of psychotherapy: A transtheoretical analysis. New York, NY: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company.

 
 

Raue PJ, Goldfried MR (1994). The therapeutic alliance in cognitive-behavior therapy. In: Horvath AO, Greenberg LS, eds. The working alliance: Theory, research, and practice. New York, NY: Wiley pp. 133-152.

 
 

Ratts MJ, Wayman A (2015). Multiculturalism and social justice in professional counseling. Introduction to professional counseling. London: Sage.

 
 

Safran JD, Muran JC (1996). The resolution of ruptures in the therapeutic alliance. J. Cons. Clin. Psychol. 64:447-458.
Crossref

 
 

Sangganjanavanich VF, Reynolds CA (2015). Introduction to professional counseling. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

 
 

Sexton TL, Whiston SC, Bleuer JC, Walz GR (1997). Integrating outcome research into counseling practice and training. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.

 
 

Sharf RS (2000). Theories of psychotherapy and counseling: Concepts and cases. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning.

 
 

Silberschatz G, Curtis JT (1986). Clinical implications of research on brief dynamic psychotherapy: II. How the therapist helps or hinders therapeutic progress. Psychoanalytic Psychol. 3:27-37.
Crossref

 
 

Snyder CR, Micheal ST, Cheavens JS (1999). Hope as a psychotherapeutic foundation of common factors, placebo, and expectancies. In: Hubble, MA, Duncan BL, Miller SD, eds. The heart and soul of change: What works in therapy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Crossref

 
 

Stevens PW (2001). Systems theories. In: Locke DC, Myers JE Herr EL, eds. The handbook of counseling. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Crossref

 
 

Stiles WB, Shapiro DA, Elliot R (1986). "Are all psychotherapies equivalent?" Am. Psychol. 41(2):165-180.
Crossref

 
 

Strupp HH (2001). Implications of the empirically supported treatment movement for psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis. Dialogues 11:605-619.
Crossref

 
 

Sue DW, Sue D (2012). Counseling the culturally diverse: Theory and practice. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

 
 

Tinsley HEA (2000). Technological magic, social change, and counseling rituals: The future of career assessment. J. Career Ass. 8:339-350.
Crossref

 
 

Thimm JC, Antonsen L (2014). Effectiveness of cognitive behavioral group therapy for depression in routine practice. BMC Psychiatry 14:292.
Crossref

 
 

Trolley BC, Siuta C (2014). Behavior theory. In: Parsons RD, Zhang N, eds. Counseling theory: Guiding reflective practice. London: Sage pp. 253-288.

 
 

Wachtel PL, Messer SB (2003). Theories of psychotherapy: Origins and evolution. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

 
 

Wade WA, Treat TA, Stuart GL (1998). Transporting an empirically supported treatment for panic disorder to a service clinic setting: A benchmarking strategy. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 66:231-239.
Crossref

 
 

Walborn FS (1996). Process variables: Four common elements of consulting psychotherapy. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.

 
 

Wampold BE (2001). The great psychotherapy debate: Model, methods, and findings. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

 
 

Wampold BE (2015). How important are the common factors in psychotherapy? An update. World Psychiatry 14(3):270-277.
Crossref

 
 

Wampold BE, Mondin GW, Moody M, Ahn H (1997). The flat earth as a metaphor for the evidence for uniform efficacy of bona fide psychotherapies: reply to Crits-Christoph (1997) and Howard et al. (1997). Psychol. Bull. 122:226-230.
Crossref

 
 

Warwar S, Greenberg LS (2000). Advances in theories of change and counseling. In Brown SD, Lent RW, eds. Handbook of counseling psychology. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. pp. 571-600.

 
 

Watson JC, Greenberg LS (1994). The alliance in experiential therapy: Enacting the relationship conditions. In: Horvath AO, Greenberg LS, eds. The working alliance: Theory, research, and practice. New York, NY: Wiley pp. 153-172.

 
 

Watson JC, Greenberg LS, Lietaer G (1998). The experiential paradigm unfolding: Relationship and experiencing in therapy, In: Greenberg LS, Watson JC, Lietaer G, eds. Handbook of experiential psychotherapy. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

 
 

Weinberger J (1995). Common factors aren't so common: The common factors dilemma. Clin. Psychol. Sci. Pract. 2:45-49.
Crossref

 
 

Weinberger J, Rasco C (2007). Empirically supported common factors. In Hofmann SG, Weinberger J, eds. The art and science of psychotherapy. New York, NY: Routledge pp. 103-129.

 
 

Whitbourne SC (2011). Thirteen qualities to look for in an effective therapist. Psychology Today. August 8. 

View

 
 

Witty MC, Adomaitis R (2014). Carl Rogers and client-centered counseling. In: Parsons RD & Zhang N, eds. Counseling theory: Guiding reflective practice. London, Sage pp. 172-200.

 
 

Wright E (2013). Psychoanalytic criticism: Theory in practice. London: Routledge.

 
 

Yeh M, Eastman K, Cheung MK (1994). Children and adolescents in community mental health centers: Does the ethnicity or the language of the counselor matter? J. Comm. Psychol. 22:153-163.

 
 

Young ME (1992). Counseling methods and techniques: An eclectic approach. New York, NY: Macmillan.

 
 

Zane N, Hall GCN, Sue S, Young K, Nunez J (2004). Research on psychotherapy with culturally diverse populations. In: Lambert, MJ, eds. Bergin and Garfield's handbook of psychotherapy and behavior change. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons pp. 767-804.

 
 

 


APA Lin, Y. (2016). The framework for integrating common and specific factors in therapy: A resolution. International Journal of Psychology and Counselling, 8(7), 81-95.
Chicago Yii-Nii Lin. "The framework for integrating common and specific factors in therapy: A resolution." International Journal of Psychology and Counselling 8, no. 7 (2016): 81-95.
MLA Yii-Nii Lin. "The framework for integrating common and specific factors in therapy: A resolution." International Journal of Psychology and Counselling 8.7 (2016): 81-95.
   
DOI 10.5897/IJPC2016.0398
URL http://academicjournals.org/journal/IJPC/article-abstract/FF3FDA560309

Subscription Form