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Commentary on Dodo Bird Revisited: Why Aren't We Dodos Yet?


Address correspondence to Bruce J. Rounsaville, VA CT Healthcare Systems, 950 Campbell Ave. (151D), West Haven, CT 06516.


Since the 1970s most meta-analytic literature reviews have repeatedly (mostly) failed to disconfirm the hypothesis that the many different types of psychotherapy have equivalent efficacy. Despite this, mainstream practice, training, and research have continued to focus on the development and evaluation of ever more divergent and specific psychotherapy techniques. This continued focus on the differences between therapies rather than on their commonalities is justified because of serious shortcomings in the empirical literature on which the Dodo bird verdict is based. Two compelling limitations are (a) the limited attention to patient-treatment matching and (b) the many design constraints on efficacy research that reduce the likelihood of detecting large effects across active treatments.