Specificity and Nonspecificity in Psychotherapy
Article first published online: 11 MAY 2006
Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice
Volume 12, Issue 2, pages 189–193, June 2005
How to Cite
Craighead, W. E., Sheets, E. S. and Bjornsson, A. S. (2005), Specificity and Nonspecificity in Psychotherapy. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 12: 189–193. doi: 10.1093/clipsy.bpi024
- Issue published online: 11 MAY 2006
- Article first published online: 11 MAY 2006
- Received March 11, 2005; accepted March 30, 2005.
- specific effects;
- nonspecified effects;
- therapeutic alliance
DeRubeis et al. (this issue) offer a data-based critique of two arguments frequently presented in support of the “nonspecifics” hypothesis. This commentary supports their report of superior effects for specific treatments for specific disorders and provides some additional data to support their position. We maintain, however, that current research has not adequately evaluated nonspecific effects so that theoretical conclusions can be drawn regarding the mechanisms of change of the superior treatments. DeRubeis et al. present some data to suggest that nonspecific effects, particularly the therapeutic alliance, are a result of therapy outcome rather than causal in therapeutic change. We argue, to the contrary, that adequate research remains to be done regarding nonspecific effects, and when that research is completed, what are now called nonspecific effects will be more aptly labeled previously unspecified effects.