Frequently Asked Questions

Does psychotherapy really work?

Outcome research on psychotherapy since the 1930s tells us first and foremost that therapy works. According to the research, 75 % of patients will improve with psychotherapy. For the most part, psychotherapy works better then medications for most disorders and that treatment effects are enduring. Interestingly, it has also been shown that these gains are consistent across most major models of psychotherapy, e.g. psychodynamic, cognitive-behavior, humanistic, systemic, motivational enhancement, solution-focused, etc. In other words, no one school of psychotherapy has been shown to be more effective then the others. For more information on what works in psychotherapy go to

How do I choose a therapist?

There is no right answer to this question. Many clients want someone with whom they feel safe talking about their problems. For some people meeting with a therapist can make them nervous. This is normal. However, don't confuse nervousness with poor fit. In general, if you are not feeling like progress is being made in the first 8-12 sessions then it may be time to re-think the therapy, the therapist, or how you are using therapy. It is also useful to interview several therapists before committing to one. That way you get a sense of different approaches and can make a more informed decision about which one is a fit for you.

What produces change in psychotherapy?

Over forty years of research on psychotherapy has shown that there are four factors that produce change common to all schools of psychotherapy. These common factors are usually termed extratherapuetic factors, the therapeutic alliance, technique, and expectancy. Extratherapuetic factors refer to any internal and external strengths of the client and the client's environment. The therapeutic alliance refers to the quality of the relationship between therapist and client. Technique refers to the interventions that the therapist employs to effect change. Expectancy refers to the feeling of hope that psychotherapy often instills in clients. For more information on what works in psychotherapy go to