Models informing therapy

There are literally hundreds of approaches to therapy.  At a time when ‘evidence’ is touted as a key requirement, there is even an approach called Evidence Based Treatment (EBT) yet the evidence is that EBT does not necessarily improve treatment effectiveness or outcomes! So says Nathan Beel,  an Australian researcher. He invites us, along with many other writers,  to learn what works across therapies. As a number of studies have found that there is little variation in outcomes between models of counselling, it is now suggested that the commonalities between models are the key.  You and I are one such ‘commonality’.

So how can you and I find out what works for them? It is a precarious business as you will need to find out what works for you!

One way of trying to explore this minefield is to explore the processes of change underpinning any one model. In 1977, James Prochaska embarked on a journey through the various systems of therapy. He concluded that theories of psychotherapy can be summarized by ten processes of change and I am reducing this to seven. Apologies to any-one offended by my summary!

It’s a lot to cram in and some folk may well not wish to be associated with some of the labels I am using!! Remember, I am not writing an accurate research review; only creating a device to help you find ways to explore your truths. When you can see where I am misdirecting your thoughts, may be the very day when your ‘scenic route’ becoming clearer.

The seven categories I offer are:

  1. Consciousness raising: helping you bring the unconscious in to the conscious. This is found in the ‘traditional’ approaches of psycho-analysis, Freud and Jung and many others. Also, the psycho-social model of Erik Erikson and Jean Piaget, and others, once dominated therapy by covering a range of ideas about how humans grown and develop. It is difficult to offer an helpful link into this vast area of research and study. However, you may find the page on ‘history’ of some help.
  2. Self-liberation: breaking out of your prison created by your past. This can be seen in the radical therapies from the Lesbian, Gay and Bi-sexual and Transgender movement (LGBT), or in the material of Dorothy Rowe, and many others. I believe the Person-Centred School, emerging from the work of Carl Rogers, would want to see itself operating in this area even if the day-to-day therapeutic experience may not meet the expectations!. Here, in the UK, there was a whole movement, seemingly short-lived,  started by a Scottish psychiatrist,  R.D Laing. Thomas Szasz did a similar job in the US.
  3. Social liberation: working with others to change the existing social order. Rather a favourite of radical and revolutionary thinking, this approach is well represented by the radical South American RC priest, Paulo Friere. More can be found on:
  4. Counter-conditioning: involves ‘inoculating’ yourself against past habits by the deliberate alteration of behaviour, attitudes and beliefs. Cognitive models such as Eye Movement De-sensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) are helpful here and, Transactional Analysis is a particularly good example here as it helps us to identify our life Script and amend it. It has informed a lot of what I have included in my material.
  5. Stimulus control: models using affect regulation help you to discriminate what you can control, from experiences and events beyond your own control.  One example, and there are many, include;
  6. Contingency management: summarised as changing behaviour to hope for the best, and prepare for the worst, an approach well represented by Albert Ellis’s Rational Emotive Therapy (RET), and its cousins . See
  7. Dramatic relief: acting decisively to see things differently can be represented by Psychodrama and the work of Jacob Moreno and his followers. For further information, see: Also the work of  recently-deceased Arthur Janov and his ‘Primal Scream’ fits in here. Internal Family Systems will have a place here.  For more information, see:

The term ‘trans-theoretical’ is often used to cover a number of models that want to integrate different approaches – seeking to be above any one theory.

In some ways, this has been my intention. I share the approach that recommends that we act, as well as think. Too often, however, you may find the action is prescribed by the model. I am asking you to move from the recommendations of others, toward confidently designed safe experiments of your own.  In case @i over-state my case, I should say that action might not be everything. 

This tendency to proscribe, or instruct others is often overlooked, or carefully concealed; the ACT Approach does explicitly ask you to find your own direction, but too often, in other models,  the advice is implicit and concealed to enhance the reputation of the ‘founders’. If you are intrigued by this idea, research any model of therapy you can find and seek out the implicit instructions. Often, they are to be found in the ‘values’ that researchers identify.

As far as I am concerned, if it helps to state it explicitly, my education, training and experience has drawn me toward:

Transactional Analysis (TA): based on the mid-20th Century work of Eric Berne.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): based on the work of so many people, although the names of Beck and Albert Ellis come immediately to mind.

Eriksonian Therapy: based on the work of Milton Erikson (not Erik Erikson, a Scandinavian Development psychologist – still a very interesting guy!).

Each influence the work I do but I am aware there are other approaches that have helped me to understand how therapy can work for different people. For instance:

Clinical Hypnosis:

Emotional Freedom Therapy (EFT):

Eye movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR):


For those interested in trauma therapies, it is increasingly impossible to overlook:

Parts Therapy:

Internal Family Systems:

Psychodrama (see item 7, above):

Body Psychotherapy:

Neural Feedback:

….. as well as Action programmes such as Yoga, Pilates and Eastern Meditations such as Qigong and Tai Chi.

As and when I am able to offer some integration of these very different approaches, you will see hyperlinks appear in the above list.

Tap the link here to return to other pages:

Welcome to Find Your Nudge

How to give yourself a nudge

When ‘doing’ isn’t enough.

3 thoughts on “Models informing therapy

  1. I often visit your site and have noticed that you don’t update it
    often. More frequent updates will give your page higher authority & rank in google.

    I know that writing articles takes a lot of time, but you can always help yourself with miftolo’s tools which will shorten the time of creating an article to a couple of

    1. Thanks for your observations, Juliana. My initial reply to you was returned, undelivered, so I am writing here to give mark my appreciation.

      I follow my own timetable for up-dating and adding material: it is a post-retiral project and I do not want it to rule my life, but I do want to do it in my own way – without too extra much help – just for it to make some sense, some time.

      Robin Trewartha

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