Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Jonathan Engel - Wise Counsel podcast review

A wide insight in the varieties of psychotherapy, the research and the practices is given by the podcast Wise Counsel. In the series, many individual techniques are discussed, but the last interview with Jonathan Engel the attention goes to an overview. Under the title of the history of American psychotherapy the discussion mostly engages into an evaluation of the available main streams of therapeutic approaches and the issue of efficacy.

Dr. Engel's view is that in the abundance of techniques, three main streams can be discerned: 1) Psychodynamic and Psychoanalytic approaches, 2) Humanistic psychotherapy, and 3) Cognitive and Behavioral Psychotherapies. Although the podcast interview shows some criticism to the simplification, but I think the audience may experience some relief with the order in the chaos and will find the categorization helpful.

On the subject of efficacy, the takeaway message seems to be that we have little reliable data on the subject. Usually the therapist is asked, whether the therapy worked and the response, obviously, is dependent. Similarly (though less profoundly stated) the client's answer to the question is not independent. Dr. Engel is hardly suggesting what the proper methodology in this research should be.

More Wise Counsel:
Self-help with PTSD,
Wise Counsel - psychology podcast review,
Irvin Yalom,
David H. Barlow,
Richard Heimberg.

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