According to Lambert & Bergin (1994), who have conducted a meta-analysis of researches on therapeutic success: [T]here is only modest evidence to suggest the superiority of one school or technique over another (pp. 161). Thus, a psychotherapist or counselor may facilitate therapeutic effectiveness by applying any therapeutic technique that he or she believes would be appropriate in a given situation. Of course, the appropriateness of a therapeutic model is largely dependent on the clients perception of the technique.
Furthermore, the characteristics of therapists are important, according to the authors. Various studies have shown that the abilities of therapists are directly related to therapeutic outcome. Evidently, one of the abilities of the therapists that facilitate therapeutic effectiveness is the expression of supportiveness and warmth. Lambert (1992) empirically estimates that 30% of therapeutic change is attributable to relationship factors, which naturally include supportiveness and warmth on the part of the counselor to build a relationship conducive to therapeutic success.
Additionally, it is estimated by the author that 40% of therapeutic change is due to client as well as extratherapeutic factors, 15% is due to expectancy of change and improvement, while the remaining 15% is due to therapeutic techniques or models. Hubble, Duncan & Millers (1999) book, The Heart & Soul of Change: What Works in Therapy, also explains that specialized procedures or techniques have a minimal role to play in the effectiveness of psychotherapy.
This clarifies the following finding of Lambert (1976): A substantial number of outpatients (on a waiting list for their initial appointment) improve without formal psychological intervention (pp. 108). Therefore, client factors are considered most important in the effectiveness of psychotherapy. Apparently, the only training that the counselor truly needs is to build the kind of relationship with the client that would lead to success in therapy. It totally depends upon the client whether he or she would agree to change or not.
In addition, the findings about the effectiveness of psychotherapy indicate that counselors must not be directive in their approach. Facilitation is, therefore, better than direction. It does not matter whether a counselor uses the psychodynamic approach or cognitive behavioral therapy to help a client. On the other hand, the counselors ability to express himself as a person that the client believes could help him or her to experience positive change is crucial. Undoubtedly, research on the effectiveness of psychotherapy is vital to the development of a successful counselor.
Regardless of the importance given the therapeutic techniques in counseling curriculum, it is noteworthy that the counselor should mainly focus on developing his or her ability to build relationships conducive to therapeutic success. Perhaps this ability is innate, and must simply be nurtured, which is the reason why Beutler, Machado & Neufeldt found that the training and experience of the counselor has almost no effect on therapeutic effectiveness. Even so, training could point the right direction to the counselor, who may only need to concentrate on building effective relationships with his or her clients.