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Eclectic and Integrative Approaches in Psychotherapy

Austen, Clare (2005). Eclectic and Integrative Approaches in Psychotherapy. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


This thesis addresses the issue of eclectic and integrative approaches in counselling psychology, their meaning and theoretical and practical significance amongst a group of practising psychologists.

Part one is a piece of qualitative research using the grounded theory method. It investigates eclectic and integrative approaches in the practice of therapists who were interviewed using a semi-structured format. Research themes included therapists’ views on eclectic and integrated practice, what therapy was chosen at which time and common factors in these choices. The interviews were recorded and transcribed. Emergent themes were analysed into superordinate categories: the nature of the therapy, the nature of the therapist and common factors in decision making. The eclectic integrated therapy investigated is viewed within a pluralist constructivist paradigm in which the process of integration occurs within each individual therapeutic alliance. The implications for integrative practice are discussed and areas for further research are indicated.

The literature review in Chapter 2 considers the topic in the context of the understanding and treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder. The subject was reviewed with reference to ideas concerning the nature of the condition, its aetiology and treatment. Reservations were noted concerning the concept of personality disorder within the ethos of counselling psychology. The review suggests that no one therapeutic approach is able to provide a comprehensive understanding or adequate guidelines for treatment. The need for an eclectic approach is suggested.

Integrated eclectic practice is demonstrated in the Case Study in Chapter 3. A therapeutic intervention is described which illustrates the use of the writer's Integrated Eclectic model. It describes how the therapy passed through a number of stages according to client need and in reference to the model used. It details the benefits and difficulties of the approach as well as demonstrating how the latter were resolved. The need for a further refinement of the model is discussed.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
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