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Drug and Alcohol Findings. (2016) The shared essence of effective therapies. Collection 2.

Across mental health and behavioural problems, ‘Dodo bird’ findings that bona fide therapies have similar effects have turned attention to the ‘common factors’ they share rather than how they differ. Find out more by browsing this collection of analyses indexed on common factors.


Highlights from the collection

Sample entries below. 


Seminal text on common factors in therapy

First published in 1961, Jerome Frank’s book Persuasion and Healing was a pioneering insight into the ‘meta’ ingredients shared by effective therapies in mental health, including the addictions. It retains its contemporary relevance and is still widely referenced as the definitive text.


Evidence-based therapy relationships

Draws conclusions and makes recommendations based on research syntheses commissioned by the American Psychological Association on effective therapeutic relationships and how to match therapeutic style to different patients.


The Manners Matter series

Five-part series not so much on what treatment services do, but how they do it. Conclusion: the human qualities which make life better outside treatment make it better within – empathy, understanding, respect, responsiveness, caring enough to be organised and persistent.


‘Self-change’ instruction matches therapy

Designed to forefront motivational interviewing’s distinct active ingredients, generally these did not seem active at all among drinkers recruited to this US trial. This “surprising” outcome directed attention to features shared by the three treatments, and to drivers of change not unique to therapy, but active in the self-change process which proved equal to formal therapy.


No impact difference between alcohol problem therapies

After combining results from studies comparing ‘talking therapies’ for alcohol problems, this ingenious analysis found any structured approach grounded in an explicit model as good as any other. We have, it’s argued, been looking in the wrong direction for therapy’s active ingredients.

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Review, Web Resource
Drug Type
Alcohol, All substances
Intervention Type
Treatment method, Psychosocial treatment method, Rehabilitation/Recovery
August 2016
Identification #
Collection 2
Drug and Alcohol Findings
Corporate Creators
Drug and Alcohol Findings
Place of Publication

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