Eclecticism: A Book Review of Current Psychotherapies

Eclecticism: A Book Review of Current Psychotherapies, 7th Edition
Raymond J. Corsini & Danny Wedding (Eds.), 2005
Belmont, CA: Thomson, Brooks/Cole

Prepared for: Barbara Dewar of
Espritedu Training of Psychotherapy Associates
By: Amy J. McGrath

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Table of Contents:

Introduction 3
Psychoanalysis (Freud) 5
Adlerian Psychotherapy 9
Analytic Psychotherapy (Jung) 14
Person-Centered Therapy 19
Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) 22
Behaviour Therapy 25
Cognitive Therapy 27
Existential Psychotherapy 30
Gestalt Therapy 33
Multimodal Therapy (MMT) 39
Family Therapy 43
Psychodrama 48
Experiential Psychotherapy 55
Conclusion 58
References 60

Corsini and Wedding (2005), the editors of Current Psychotherapies, put forth thirteen varying modalities for the practice of psychotherapy that are written by the current leading theorists and practitioners within each paradigm. The presentation of each modality is constructed along a straightforward framework whereby each author historically situates her/his theory, outlines the main theoretical concerns, gives an overview of important terms and techniques, and finally supplies an illustrative case study.

Corsini (2005), an editor and the author of the introduction, begins the book by broadly defining the work of psychotherapy as a practice that involves at least two people for the amelioration of distress. To further clarify this definition, Corsini (2005) presents a concise division between counselling and psychotherapy. In contrast to counsellors, whom he suggests work with expertise in specified areas of behaviour, psychotherapists "are generalists who tend to hold a variety of unusual theories or combinations of theories and who may use one or more procedures to try and achieve desired results"(p. 3). The importance of this broadly defined framework for psychotherapists is that it provides a space within which the thirteen different modalities of theory and practice can be presented. Corsini (2005) then invites the reader to explore which paradigms hold a "fit" for the reader/practitioner, suggesting that the person of the therapist (i.e. philosophy of life, personality, etc.) often works in congruence with a particular modality. Thus, Corsini (2005) lays the groundwork for an eclectic vision for the practice of psychotherapy, much like a banquet table from which techniques and models might be freely chosen. In addition, in the last chapter, Wedding (2005) provides a brief overview of ethical and professional guidelines that all psychotherapists need to be cognizant of, regardless of which psychotherapeutic modality they practice.

While Corsini (2005) provides a boundary for the discussion of psychotherapy, he does not clearly contextualize this book within an intellectual historically situated milieu. Each author of the respective paradigms does a brief overview of how they understand the historical genesis of their own theory; however, this does not provide a well-defined conceptual map for navigating the material as a whole. To bring the book into sharper focus it is important to recognize each paradigm's relation to the canon of psychoanalytic thought. This canon consists of the historical movement of psychoanalytic theory from its beginnings with Freudian Psychoanalysis through its modifications in Ego Psychology, Object Relations, Self Psychology and finally, Intersubjective Psychotherapy (Greenberg & Mitchell, 1983). This canon can be conceptualized as the trunk of the psychological tree. The psychotherapies presented in this book, excluding Freudian Psychoanalysis, are the branches that emerge from this trunk. Some of the branches draw from and expand or modify concepts and techniques from the canon, while others challenge and sever their connection to these roots. Regardless of the nature of each paradigm's response to the canon, a dialogue ensues that holds all of these different perspectives in a loosely knit whole.

For the sake of simplicity, each modality will be discussed separately. Each will be briefly contextualized within the streams of thought that provided their genesis. Then each paradigm's salient concepts involving the nature of psychopathology, mechanisms for therapeutic change, and finally specific therapeutic techniques will be discussed. Additionally, fundamental concepts or terms from each paradigm will be defined throughout the discussion of each modality. A discussion of the relationships between and among the varying perspectives will not be taken up in this review, nor will an evaluation of the efficacy of any of the paradigms be postulated as it is outside the scope of this paper.

This is a 62 page document which is available for download as a PDF file.