Effectiveness of substance abuse treatment in light of common factors (2007-2010)

Despite best efforts towards improving the effectiveness of substance abuse treatment, it has been challenging and achieving better efficacy has called for new strategies. Research has repeatedly stressed the need to study the common factors which are present in the therapy situation but which are not specific to a certain therapeutic method. The project focused on the effects of common factors on substance abuse treatment effectiveness. The project sought more detailed knowledge about what therapists do, about the therapeutic alliance between client and therapist and about how clients’ expectations and beliefs regarding treatment influence effectiveness. Attention was moreover paid to therapist’s background, personality and motivation for entering the field and also to the significance of therapist’s gender from the perspective of effectiveness. The project sought to generate wide-ranging knowledge about therapists’ actions, the co-operative relationship pertaining between therapist and client and client’ expectations and beliefs regarding treatment effectiveness. The findings are of significance in training of substance abuse treatment professionals and in supervision of their work. From the perspective of treatment effectiveness, the findings can also be utilised in order to reduce the rate of dropping out of treatment. The project was led by Professor Pekka Saarnio and Dr. Katja Kuusisto is in charge of current publishing activity regarding secondary analyses.

Funded by the Academy of Finland 2007-2010.