Why is it important to know how to choose the therapeutic approach in Psychology?

The reasons why choosing the therapeutic approach well is essential to help the patient.

You finish university and begin to carry out the necessary procedures to be able to have the permits and professional ability to practice the profession you chose and it inspires you to work.

You have your first patient; it is possibly the next most eagerly motivating experience you will have after supporting your investigative work in front of a jury.

Your patient tells you what ails him, how he feels, what he thinks, and what he would like to achieve with your help. You answer him with confidence and conviction that you can help him to solve his problem, to feel less distressed, to overcome all this situation that has brought him to consultation, which has made him choose psychotherapy as a form of help and well-being.

Why is it important to know how to choose the therapeutic approach in Psychology?

The importance of choosing the right therapeutic approach

For a second consultation, you need to have an outline of the intervention plan that you will work with your patient (regardless of whether you will work on evaluation and diagnosis with him or her), and perhaps that is when you realize that you do not know very well how to transfer the knowledge obtained in your professional training in viable and understandable answers for your patient.

If this has happened to you, or something similar, surely you already know that you are neither the first nor the last colleague to experience nor experienced such a situation. Prenlu invites you to participate in the course “Guide to choose the therapeutic approach that your patient needs”, where a treatment plan model will be shared considering the main contributions of various psychological schools. To learn more, contact Prenlu.

A contradiction in the training on Psychology

Unfortunately, the various studies conducted over the years regarding the importance of conducting research in psychotherapy show us two contradictory views. On the one hand, the interest of the students in recent years is considered regarding dedicating themselves to caring for patients, that is, to perform psychotherapy when they conclude their studies. And, on the other hand (which is really the other side of the coin), the little interest in reading and/or developing research in psychotherapy.

This contradiction can be interpreted in different ways: public and private universities have a study plan that, in general, does not include curricular experiences to carry out research on psychotherapy; There is still a considerable percentage that is inclined towards the clinical area, which, in turn, is more oriented to the treatment of patients or clients; There is greater interest in being trained in a psychotherapeutic approach than in knowing its effectiveness using the scientific methodology or some method that is comparable with respect to its validity and reliability.

However, it is feasible to refer to some research that has shed light on this bumpy and little updated path of psychotherapy.

The importance of non-specific factors in therapy

The research of Safran and Segal (1994, cited in Moncada and Kühne, 2003) highlighted the importance of non-specific factors in psychotherapy. Among these factors are the therapeutic relationship, the patient’s expectations, and the therapeutic alliance. These factors are also called common factors because they are coupled to all psychotherapeutic approaches since they do not link their actions with the theoretical bases on which they sustain their praxis.

Also noteworthy is the research by Barber, Connolly, Christoph, Gladis & Siqueland (2000) that highlights the therapist-patient relationship as an important non-specific factor to achieve therapeutic change. In this study, conducted with patients who had been diagnosed with depression, it was found that the alliance with the psychotherapist was a significant predictor for the remission of depressive symptoms.

And, if the non-specific factors are mentioned, it is also relevant to mention the specific ones, those that include the specific techniques and procedures of application and development within the psychotherapeutic sessions. According to Lambert (1986; cited in Poch and Ávila, 1998), common factors make it possible to predict the success of psychotherapy by 30%, while specific factors do so by 15%, a considerable and reaffirming difference, taking into account that the Early research on psychotherapy demonstrated its effectiveness in general terms, regardless of the approach and mode of application.

Thus, it is possible to glimpse that research in psychotherapy plays a motivating role to develop and improve psychotherapeutic work.

For this, it is important to consider the characteristics that the investigations must meet that allow obtaining reliable results regarding whether a therapeutic approach should be considered effective. Chambless & Hollon (1998; cited in Moncada and Kühne, 2003) refer to these requirements as “evidence-based psychotherapy”, which establishes clear parameters when conducting research in psychotherapy.

The need to focus on what makes psychotherapy effective

Faced with these requirements, Kaechele (2000) reinforces the idea of ​​critically analyzing these results in order not to fall into mechanized treatments and depersonalize the patient as well as the therapeutic work, recommending basing the psychotherapeutic work on the available evidence that the various approaches offer.

This same author invites reflection on assuming a more responsible and careful role when working on psychotherapy, emphasizing that society is increasingly interested in the effectiveness of treatment in relation to the expenses that must be included in their budgets.

Finally, Kaechele recommends increasing studies by vectorizing the populations and specific disorders in each socio-cultural realization, since it is evident from the results of different investigations that, in general, psychologists are not interested in knowing about them or developing them. And the most alarming thing is that those colleagues who do, “are hardly willing to modify their beliefs or their way of doing psychotherapy because of what the research says” (Kaechele, 2000; Beutler, Moleiro & Talebi, 2002).

Therefore, it is important to research, develop and/or update viable ways of making psychotherapy effective. It is a mutual benefit that will not only increase the professional work but will also strengthen the therapist-patient bond, so relevant to achieve what initially inspired many to study psychology: reduce the suffering of people and truly help them improve their health mental.


Why is it important to know how to choose the therapeutic approach in Psychology?