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Read MoreI entered the field of psychology at a time when existential and humanistic philosophy and psychology were very popular, as well as both Freudian and Neo-Freudian approaches to understanding psychopathology and treatment. Consequently, I became well-versed in humanistic and psychodynamic theory and practice. At the same time, a proliferation of studies using a learning theory model of human psychology suggested a more concrete or empirical approach to treatment, resulting in a treatment that might be more readily measured and more standardized in delivery. There was also a rapidly growing interest in Albert Ellis and rational emotive therapy, Carl Rogers and person-centred therapy, and even Fritz Perls and gestalt therapy. These approaches represent sharp contradistinction, not only to the Neo-Freudians (including Adler, Jung, and later, May, Kohut, Kernberg, Winnicott, and even more recently, Sullivan and Horney) but also, more significantly, to the emerging popularity of behaviourism (founded upon the philosophy of Logical Positivism). The latter was supported by Learning theory and its product, Behaviour therapy, another rapidly expanding and increasingly popular therapeutic approach and the ancestor (so to speak) of the now predominant approach in psychotherapy, cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). These were very compelling times in psychology, with a great diversity of approaches to understanding and helping the human person. On one hand, positivists would complain of the idealism and questionable science of the psychodynamic and humanistic and existential approaches; on the other hand, idealists and realists would complain of the reductionist materialism of the positivists, who might consequently “lose sight of the forest for the trees.” The advantage of being in the centre of these controversies was the opportunity to derive what was beneficial and realistic from all these points of view, which inclined many psychologists of the time, including myself, to adopt a so-called eclectic approach to treatment.
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