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The Dodo Bird Verdict

By |October 26, 2010|Philosophy|

Dodo bird from Alice in Wonderland

Source Wikipedia

In Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), at a certain point a number of characters become wet. In order to dry themselves, the Dodo decided to issue a competition. Everyone was to run around the lake until they were dry. Nobody cared to measure how far each person had run, nor how long. When they asked the Dodo who had won, he thought long and hard and then said “Everybody has won and all must have prizes.”

In psychological literature, Saul Rosenzweig (1936) coined this phrase the “Dodo bird verdict”, and it has been extensively referred to in subsequent literature as a consequence of the common factors theory. This is the theory that the specific techniques that are applied in different types and schools of psychotherapy serve a very limited purpose (such as a shared myth to believe in), and that most of the positive effect that is gained from psychotherapy is due to factors that the schools have in common, namely the therapeutic effect of having a relationship with a therapist who is warm, respectful and friendly. (more…)