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The Dodo Prize in Therapy

Much research has been done to determine the most effective forms of therapy. It turns out all therapies win the Dodo Prize, as one researcher termed it. Taken from the story Alice in Wonderland, when the animals have a race the Dodo declared, “Everyone has won and all must have prizes.” What researchers discovered was that, overall, all therapies are about equally effective. So despite the fact that one type might be the current “it” therapy, you don’t have to choose that type if it doesn’t feel like the right approach to you. It’s far more important to chose your therapist than the type of therapy. This is because fifty years of research has repeatedly found that the single biggest factor in the results a person gets from therapy is the relationship they have with the therapist. That is, does the person feel respected and heard, for example, or does the person feel like the therapist has a hammer and everything it treated like it’s a nail? Another major factor is how much the therapist believes in the therapeutic approach they are using. The more they believe in their theoretical approach, the better their clients’ outcomes.

Researchers wonder if perhaps different therapies are better for some types of people or issues than others. It could be in this way that some therapies outshine others. We don’t have enough research yet to know. So for now, pick your therapist rather than your therapy. And know that if you start therapy with someone and you don’t feel like it’s a good fit, you have the right to ask for (and receive) referrals to other therapists. Of course, before you do that, I urge you to let your therapist know that you are having these thoughts. It gives your therapist a chance to try to address whatever issues you present. I am truly appreciative whenever a client can tell give me feedback about what is working or what could work better. And the research shows clients and therapists who talk about these issues end up with better results in their work together.

I’m serious about making sure that a prospective client and I are a good fit: I offer a free first session. There’s no obligation. If we decide we’re not the right fit, I’m happy to provide referrals to some therapists who might be. No single therapist is the right therapist for every client. My professional recommendation is to talk to several therapists before deciding on one. I invite you to call or text me at (816) 226-4678 to schedule a free initial 50-minute session.

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