Lambert’s Pie and How it Relates to You Finding the Best Psychotherapist in Toronto

As a Registered Psychotherapist in Toronto, I often get asked about finding the “best psychotherapist” for “me” or helping people find a therapist who does a certain modality like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). This is a favourite topic of mine to discuss with people and my clients: “What does “best” mean in Psychotherapy?” and “Who is the best psychotherapist in Toronto?”. I always answer that “best” is relative and what is “best” for one person is not necessarily “best” for another.

When I was studying for my master’s degree, we reviewed a research article by Michael J. Lambert and Dean E. Barley called “Research Summary On The Therapeutic Relationship And Psychotherapy Outcome”. This one article has stood out to me throughout my career in Psychotherapy. Why? Because it outlined the four important factors that relate to successful client outcomes in therapy and helps me keeps a focus on the important things in my Therapeutic practice.

Lambert’s Pie

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How can you use Lambert’s pie in finding the best Psychotherapist for you in Toronto?

The important thing to focus on when looking for a therapist is the big orange area in the pie known as common factors. Common factors represent 30% of positive outcomes in therapy. This is a controllable variable for you in the pursuit of the best psychotherapist for you. This area is comprised of the client/therapist relationship and includes characteristics of the therapist such as interpersonal style, therapist attributes, empathy and warmth. I always mention to clients in the first session that it is important for you to determine whether you feel comfortable with me and whether you feel we are a” fit” to work together. This “fit” is one of the most important areas under the client’s control. Often professionals and clients focus on modality, such as CBT, EFT or DBT as being a determining criterion. However, modality only accounts for 15% of positive outcomes in therapy. So as a client, you need to first focus on “fit” of your therapist and then consider the modality being used (grey area). A therapist can be a technical expert in using a modality, but that does not necessarily mean you will feel comfortable with them and achieve the outcomes you desire.

What can you bring to finding the best Psychotherapist for you in Toronto?

The yellow piece of the pie, extra-therapeutic change, represents 40% of positive outcomes related to things outside the therapeutic process. This is the part that you bring to the process: personality characteristics, environment, strengths and chance events that happen in your own environment that affect your course of change. These factors also include: support systems, faith, job, and family situation.


I just wanted to share some of my thoughts to help you find the best psychotherapist for you. Since the therapeutic relationship is one of the biggest variables under your control, it is important to interview and get feelings for the “fit” between you and a therapist. Interview many people before you choose the one who you want to work with.

I welcome new clients. Contact me to set up a 20 minute consultation call to see if we are a "fit".