Psychotherapy is effective and here’s why

October 2011, Vol 42, No. 9 American Psychological Association

Answering just what makes it work is complex, said Wampold, a professor of counseling psychology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, but relationships and customized treatments play key roles.

So what makes a good therapist? According to research presented by Wampold, a good therapist:

  • Has a sophisticated set of interpersonal skills.
  • Builds trust, understanding and belief from the client.
  • Has an alliance with client.
  • Has an acceptable and adaptive explanation of the client's condition.
  • Has a treatment plan and allows it to be flexible.
  • Is influential, persuasive and convincing.
  • Monitors patient progress.
  • Offers hope and optimism (realistic optimism, not Pollyanna-ish).
  • Is aware of a client's characteristics in context.
  • Is reflective.
  • Relies on best research evidence.
  • Continually improves through professional development.


"The only constant we have in life is change"