Psyhological Theoretical Orientation’s: Do they matter?

Before gaining a new-found knowledge of the various therapeutic approaches, I believed that all therapies were effective. I was also under the assumption that each symptom or disorder had a specific approach that worked best for change to occur. After reviewing Walmpold’s discussion, I was more relieved than surprised. Both of my perspectives were validated, but Walmpold took it a step further and explained how theoretical approaches are rooted in the philosophy of science and how this basis determines how a therapist will inherently respond to disorder types. 

Due to this finding, it is relieving to know that my innate ideologies of human connection/motivation and beliefs of how to treat pathology will be intrinsically matched to a philosophy of science and, thus, a theoretical orientation. This connection seems bound or fated. Similar to the Sorting Hatprocess in Harry Potter. The hats’ goal is to ensure that the student wizards will be connected to a home where they intrinsically succeed and grow to their fullest potential. The home itself does not guarantee the best fit, the wizard does.

Nonetheless, the difference in sorting in Harry Potter and choosing a theoretical orientation is rooted in the needs of the client and the symptomology of certain disorders. Likely, the therapist will stay attuned and connected to their philosophy of science. Leaving the question: which treatment delivered by me will be most effective?

I do not have any doubts regarding disorder types not explicitly addressed in the text, but I questioned how the medical model influenced our need to pursue set treatments to treat specific disorders solely. I believe that our desire to be respected as the medical model is in our society encourages the need for the best treatments. I think we compare to the medical model by focusing on best practices for therapist/client relations rather than the best treatment approach for a disorder. The need to find the best treatment may be effective for efficiency and insurance validation, but I believe that it reduces the authenticity within a therapeutic relationship. I wonder if the therapist will be less likely to find their approach if the evidence supports a specific modality over another. 

The disorders discussed in the text are supported through a variety of psychotherapies. Walmpold explains that all treatments for depression and PTSD, are equally effective. CBT is effective for anxiety and substance use disorders, due to its treatment development to support the disorders and psychodynamic treatment is more effective for personality disorders. Regarding childhood disorders, he shared that the only difference noted in research is the difference of effect size with adults and with children. The overall conclusion supported that there is no clear evidence that one theory develops superior results than another. Walmpold (2010) supports this by stating, “no one theory successfully and entirely explains human nature and behavior, and mental health or mental disorder” (p. 56).

Lastly, Walmpold described the different philosophies of science and how the schools of psychotherapy are derived. This helped me make sense of the triad of psychology discussed earlier in the semester and my theoretical orientation. I find that I currently align best with a mix of humanistic-existential, multicultural, feminist, and narrative theories. Throughout this semester, I feel more grounded in my decision and my self-exploration. The next step will be to gain more understanding of these theories and build authenticity within them. 

 With Intention.