Nonspecific Common Factors Theory Meets Memory Reconsolidation:

A Game-Changing Encounter?

Bruce Ecker

Nonspecific common factors theory asserts, based on 75 years of randomized controlled trials of different types of psychotherapy, that specific processes and procedures cannot contribute powerfully to therapeutic change. This assertion derives from finding essentially the same rather modest level of efficacy for all of the many therapies studied using randomized controlled trials, or RCTs. Advocacy of nonspecific common factors theory has been especially strong in the last decade (e.g., Duncan, Miller, Wampold & Hubble, 2009).

The fact that the efficacy measured by RCTs doesn’t change from therapy to therapy appears to imply that efficacy is due not to the specific methods and procedures used—which researchers call specific factors—but rather is due to the qualities of the client, the therapist, and the client-therapist relationship—which researchers call the nonspecific common factors, and which include qualities of trust, empathy, and therapeutic alliance, among other things.

Some Psychotherapy Process Studies Demonstrating Specific Factor Dominance

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Cite this article:

Ecker, B. (2013). Nonspecific common factors theory meets memory reconsolidation: A game-changing encounter? The Neuropsychotherapist, 2, 134-137. doi:

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