“Actually, maybe anything really does go!” Perspectives from psychotherapy research on the place of theory in therapy: David Hewison

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Date(s) - 27/01/2018
10:00 am - 12:30 pm

Cambridge - Friends Meeting House


“Actually, maybe anything really does go!”
Perspectives from psychotherapy research on the place of theory in therapy

David Hewison

This talk addresses the challenge that contemporary psychotherapy research makes to the different schools and brand-names of therapy and analysis. It takes its title from Paul Feyerabend’s oft-cited claim in Against Method – Towards an anarchist theory of science (1975) that “anything goes” in terms of scientific method and from the rallying call by the eminent psychoanalyst David Tuckett in 2005 that psychoanalysis needs to defend itself from such a claim when defining what competence in analysis looks like. I shall survey some of the debates about claims for and against the superiority of one therapy over another and put forward the idea that although theory has an important place for the clinician to help them understand what they are aiming to do, it is probably much less relevant for the patient/client. I indicate what the research suggests is more important.
The talk will span a range of therapeutic approaches and will address shibboleths and certainties that we all hold dear in one way or another, whilst keeping sight of the fact that, generally, psychotherapy works and that there should be more of it.
Anyone trying to make sense of the claims for and against one therapy or another, whether it is CBT or Jungian Analysis, interested in how research in psychotherapy has developed since Eysenck’s 1952 attack on psychoanalysis, and seeking to understand what might make therapy more effective would find this talk of interest. It aims to open up questions rather than give answers, though answers won’t be avoided when the evidence points towards them!

David Hewison, PhD, is a Jungian Training Analyst of the Society of Analytical Psychology and a Consultant Couple Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist and Head of Research at Tavistock Relationships, where he runs a Professional Doctorate Programme. He developed an integrative behavioural model of couple therapy for depression for use in Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Services, and ‘Couple Therapy for Depression – A Clinician’s Guide to Integrative Practice’, written with Clulow and Drake, was published by Oxford University Press in 2014. He has taught internationally and has published widely on analytic theory and practice, with an emphasis on creativity and the imagination.

Chair: Hilary Pounsett

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