Contextualizing Psychotherapy As A Healing Practice: Culture, history, and methods

Wampold, B. (2001). Contextualizing Psychotherapy As A Healing Practice: Culture, history, and methods. Applied and Preventive Psychology, 10(2), 69-86.

Abstract

The histories of modern medicine and psychotherapy are examined to situate psychotherapy in the array of healing practices. Although modern medicine relies on specificity as its central organizing concept, psychotherapy has consistently produced results that are not consistent with a medical model. Moreover, the development of research methodologies used to validate treatments, although useful in the medical context, ignores the experience of the patients as well as the provider of services. It is demonstrated that psychotherapy is a culturally imbedded healing practice and shares similarities with healing practices other than modern medicine. Psychotherapy shares one important feature with modern medicine, however: empirical support for efficacy. Various theories of placebo effects are examined to propose explanations for the effects of psychotherapy. Finally, issues and paradoxes are presented for future consideration.

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