From either/or to both/and : developing a pluralistic approach to counselling and psychotherapy

Cooper, M. and McLeod, J. (2012) From either/or to both/and : developing a pluralistic approach to counselling and psychotherapy. European Journal of Psychotherapy and Counselling, 14 (1). pp. 5-17. ISSN 1364-2537

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Abstract

The pluralistic approach to therapy that we have articulated is grounded in ethics, and strives to develop therapists' abilities to engage with clients in deeply respectful and valuing ways. In this article, we argue that a principle obstacle to such engagements can be a tendency in the psychological therapies to hold either/or, polarised positions, such that we are not fully open to the complexity and diversity of the actual clients that we encounter. This article focuses on three particular polarisations: between advocates of different orientations, between integrative/eclectic versus single orientation practices and between client-led versus therapist-led practices. The article argues that a pluralistic approach may be able to overcome such schisms, and discusses the implications and limits of this perspective for therapeutic thinking and practice.