REASONS FOR THE GROWTH OF ECLECTIC AND INTEGRATED APPROACHES
Many factors account for this trend toward integrative and eclectic treatment.
As Thompson (
stated, “Essentially, no single theory can account fully for the myriad of [phenomena] that characterize
the full range and life span of human experiences. Further, adhering to exclusive models of counseling
and psychotherapy could be perceived as limiting therapeutic options when working with clients” (p.
xxi). Thompson’s points seem valid in light of the diversity of people seeking treatment who vary
according to many dimensions including culture, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, intelligence,
abilities, interpersonal skills, life experiences, self-awareness, support systems, and symptoms.
In addition, no one theoretical model has proven itself superior to the rest despite efforts to identify
such a theory. Luborsky Singer, and Luborsky (
) reviewed the comparative literature on
psychotherapy and concluded that the result was a dodo bird verdict. (The dodo bird, in
Adventures in Wonderland
, stated that since everyone had won the race, all must have prizes.) Despite
extensive research since 1975, the dodo bird verdict still stands.
According to Hansen (
, p. 315),
“… meta-analysis of counseling outcome studies clearly shows that no one approach has emerged as
the correct or most helpful … it seems that all well-established approaches promote healing.” In fact,
research suggests that treatment systems have more commonalities than differences.
At the same time, research has demonstrated that some treatment approaches are more effective than
others with particular problems, diagnoses, or types of people.
For example, cognitive therapy and
interpersonal psychotherapy are particularly powerful in the treatment of major depressive disorder
(Elkin et al.,
) while reality therapy has been widely used in treating conduct disorders.
The following 12 factors have combined during the past 20–25 years to move clinicians in the direction
of preferring integrative and eclectic approaches over adherence to one specific treatment system
(Prochaska & Norcross,
1.The large and growing number of approaches to treatment; more than 400 treatment systems
have been identified
2.The increasing diversity and complexity of clients and their concerns
3.The inability of any one treatment system to successfully address all clients and all problems
4.The growing importance of solution-focused brief approaches that encourage clinicians to
draw on and combine interventions from various systems of therapy to find the most effective
and efficient strategy for each treatment situation
5.The availability of training opportunities, as well as case studies and other informative
literature, that give clinicians the opportunity to study, observe, and gain experience in a wide
variety of treatment approaches
6.The requirement of some state and national credentialing bodies that clinicians obtain