In my last two articles, I described a few of the common factors that make therapy Centennial effective (or ineffective) no matter what theoretical orientation it’s approached from. Those factors were:
- The therapeutic relationship. This is actually the degree to which the therapist and the client feel aligned with each other in working toward a mutual goal.
- The therapist. Some therapists are consistently far better than others. Few researchers seem willing to study the differences between the truly good therapists and the truly bad ones, but their education to which a practitioner adheres to a particular treatment protocol does not appear to contribute.
In this information, I’m planning to draw those two factors together into a next, connecting factor, which I think constitutes the principal basis for effective psychotherapy. Jerome Frank, the pioneer of the Common Factors way of psychotherapy, referred to the connecting principle as persuasion.
I’ve had some arguments with other therapists previously who disagree with the explicit usage of persuasive tactics in psychotherapy, because they feel that therapy ought to be an egalitarian enterprise — the client should get the total freedom of preference regarding just how to answer treatment.
My argument is that people often arrived at therapy specifically because they wish to believe something that they have not been able to produce themselves believe. They want to be convinced that life is worth living, or that the world is ultimately more pleasurable than it’s scary, or that they have more options available to them than they feel like they do.
But there is more to psychotherapy than this sort of direct persuasion. For me, psychotherapy is approximately why people are not able to believe those things. It is approximately the belief systems which prevent them from accessing those possibilities. And so the task of psychotherapy is to simply help someone accept a brand new belief system. It doesn’t really matter which belief system they accept, provided that it’s wide enough and deep enough to accommodate the types of experiences these were missing before. That’s why all theories of psychotherapy yield similar results — they’re all myths about what sort of human mind works.
As a result of this, the key determinants of growth and healing in psychotherapy are:
- their education to which the therapist is able to successfully proselytize for their myth (charisma)
- their education to which the client is able to engage with this myth (belief)
- their education to which the therapist and client have the ability to apply that mythical system to the problems the client is facing in their own life (the therapeutic relationship.)
Dr. David Godot is just a psychotherapist in Los Angeles, California. He specializes in the usage of clinical hypnosis, and is familiar with anxiety, depression, addictions, and mind-body medicine — such as for instance treating migraine headaches or irritable bowel syndrome.