International Journal of
Psychology and Counselling

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Psychol. Couns.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2499
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJPC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 194


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


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.