In 1957 Rogers postulated 6 basic conditions that are both necessary and sufficient in order for the therapeutic change to take place. These conditions didn’t describe any theoretical approach the therapist should assume nor they requested any psychological knowledge, they merely defined the psychological state of the therapist (Rogers, 1957). This psychological state (and client being aware of this state) alone was sufficient to bring about a personality change in client and cause psychological healing (Rogers, 1957). Roger’s suggestions sound exceptionally relevant in light of current research on the effectiveness of psychotherapies based on different theoretical approaches. Studies looking at different psychotherapies largely find all of them to be equally effective (Lambert, 2005, Luborsky et al, 2002, Messer & Wampold, 2002, Wampold et al, 1997).
One of the first works that draw attentions to actual equality of all psychotherapies was Rosenzweig’s (1936) seminal survey. This phenomenon of equality of all psychotherapies gained name after a famous Dodo bird character from Alice in Wonderland that after a race famously pronounced that “Everybody has won, and all must have prizes." (Carroll, 1916, p. 7). The Dodo bird effect is now widely recognized and accepted (Duncan, 2002, Messer & Wampold, 2006, Stiles, Shapiro & Elliot, 1986). This positive reception is based on massive amount of research that has repeatedly found psychotherapies to be equally efficient (Ahn & Wampold, 2001, Luborsky et al, 2002, Luborsky, Singer and Luborsky, 1975, Smith, Glass & Miller, 1980 as cited in Luborsky et al, 2002, Wampold et al, 1997, Wampold, Minami, Baskin & Tierney, 2002). However number of these studies has been criticized both from proponents of Dodo bird effect and from its opponents.
Several studies, including for example meta-analysis conducted by Smith et al (1980 as cited Luborsky et al, 2002), were criticized for inappropriate methodology, including lack of direct comparisons between active treatments or inclusion of non bona fide therapies (Messer & Wampold, 2002, Wampold et al, 1997). The impact of the latter was demonstrated by Wampold et al (2002). They found CBT to be superior to non-cognitive therapies, however only when non bona fide therapies were included, when excluded, all therapies were equally effective. Nevertheless, some authors disregard the notion of Dodo bird effect whatsoever and regard some psychotherapies to be more effective than others. This critique usually comes from proponents of empirically supported treatments that hope to scientifically establish the best psychotherapy (Lilienfield, 2007). Maybe not surprisingly this race usually wins scientifically based cognitive-behaviour therapy or behaviourist psychotherapy (Rachman & Wilson, 1980 as cited in Stiles et al, 1986). However methodology used in these studies, e.g. placebo, manualized research or randomized clinical trials, is criticized as being too rigid for the study of such a complex discipline as psychotherapy (Elkins, 2007, Garfield, 1996, Wampold, Hollon & Hill, 2011). Some authors question the effectiveness of psychotherapy as a whole (Eysenck, 1952/1999). In 1952 Eysenck concluded that psychotherapeutic treatment is no more effective than spontaneous remission. Although it set off an intense debate regarding its conclusions, it is nowadays generally regarded as methodologically flawed and surpassed by vast amount of studies suggesting the actual effectiveness of psychotherapy (Wampold et al, 2011, Jacobson & Christensen, 1996). What is still, however, unknown is how it works.
There are several different explanations of the mechanisms that bring about the positive psychological change. Since the theoretical approaches cannot account for the positive outcome, it has been suggested that professed therapeutic approach of psychotherapists is maybe not actually...