Effectiveness Bank web site Collection
Supported by  Alcohol Research UK web site   Society for the Study of Addiction web site
Dodo bird The shared essence of effective therapies

Second of the Effectiveness Bank collections – customised mini-libraries on selected topics. Across mental health and behavioural problems, ‘Dodo bird’ findings that bona fide therapies have similar effects have turned attention to the ‘common factors’ they share rather than how they differ. Find out more by browsing this collection of analyses indexed on common factors.

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Highlights from the collection
Sample entries below. Click button above to see the whole collection.

Seminal text on common factors in therapy
First published in 1961, Jerome Frank’s book Persuasion and Healing was a pioneering insight into the ‘meta’ ingredients shared by effective therapies in mental health, including the addictions. It retains its contemporary relevance and is still widely referenced as the definitive text.

Evidence-based therapy relationships
Draws conclusions and makes recommendations based on research syntheses commissioned by the American Psychological Association on effective therapeutic relationships and how to match therapeutic style to different patients.

The Manners Matter series
Five-part series not so much on what treatment services do, but how they do it. Conclusion: the human qualities which make life better outside treatment make it better within – empathy, understanding, respect, responsiveness, caring enough to be organised and persistent.

‘Self-change’ instruction matches therapy
Designed to forefront motivational interviewing’s distinct active ingredients, generally these did not seem active at all among drinkers recruited to this US trial. This “surprising” outcome directed attention to features shared by the three treatments, and to drivers of change not unique to therapy, but active in the self-change process which proved equal to formal therapy.

No impact difference between alcohol problem therapies
After combining results from studies comparing ‘talking therapies’ for alcohol problems, this ingenious analysis found any structured approach grounded in an explicit model as good as any other. We have, it’s argued, been looking in the wrong direction for therapy’s active ingredients.


The Drug and Alcohol Findings Effectiveness Bank offers a free mailing list service updating subscribers to UK-relevant evaluations of drug/alcohol interventions. Findings is supported by Alcohol Research UK and the Society for the Study of Addiction and advised by the National Addiction Centre and the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals.