Try to guess the best predictor of success for those who engage in therapy with a psychologist. Is it a patient factor, like the patient’s age, intelligence, or diagnosis? Is it a psychologist factor, like the psychologist’s education, experience, or compassion? Is it a situational factor, like the patient’s support system or job security?
While each of these factors is important, the factor that is the single best predictor of success in psychotherapy is whether it is the patient’s first time in psychotherapy. Specifically, those who are working with their first psychologist have the greatest chance of success, and as patients work with more and more psychologists over the years, their chances of improving decrease.
Why? While psychologists have different techniques and training, most will give similar guidance/advice. If the patient rejects the guidance/advice from Psychologist #1, he is also likely to reject the advice from Psychologist #2 (and #3, #4, and #5 for that matter). How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb? One, but the light bulb has to want to change!