Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Rock and a Hard Place

Sometimes I think we find ourselves between a rock and a hard place. Psychology, as a science, implores us to use empirically supported interventions, although many counselors as well as counselors in training believe, as you said, we should use theories as they fit with us. Although we must work empirically, we also want to work passionately. The passion is, in essence, the artistic nature of our craft, and the stuff of which we are made. It seems important to tread somewhere between the twain, evoking the passion, but making sure we always find ourselves within the boundaries of evidence.

I recently started reading Wampold (2001) who claims (through his own extensive research) all therapies have equal effects on clients. Interestingly, he determines that a large percentage of the affect may be due to the quality of the therapeutic relationship. (I believe I have read research that makes similar claims.) This, of course, negates research that claims one type of therapy is more effective than another.

I find this supportive of my own theory on counseling which says if I care enough about the issues and challenges of my clients, am authentic, warm, and respectful, I have a pretty good chance of being effective with my clients. On the other hand, if I am merely determined to rigidly follow the parameters founded on empirical research, I may, along with my clients, miss the salience of the therapeutic alliance.

Wampold, B. E. ( 2001). The great psychotherapy debate: Models, methods, and findings. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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