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Educ 323 Ch1.docx

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Simon Fraser University
EDUC 323
Alex Abdel- Malek

Educ 323- Chapter 1 (Theory is a good thing) • What is theory? o Composed of a set of concepts and their defined rlnshps o Theories to foster understanding of something hitherto not understood  In a perfect world, theories to explain and predict behaviour  Theories in the world of counselling to try and explain the process of helping clients change • Some theories adres how ppl are made (psychologically), some on developmental issues, and descriptions of healthy vs unhealthy psychological functioning • What is Psychotherapy? o Helping indivs overcome obstacles to their personal growth, wherever these may be encountered and toward achieving optimum dev of their personal resources o OR: primarily interpersonal tx based on psychological principles and involves trained therapist and client w/mental problem/disorder/complaint  Intention to remediate client’s problem o Counselling vs psychotherapy:  Psychotherapy considered realm of personality change and “depth work” whereas counselling seen as shorter in duration, problem focused and much less intense • Why bother with theory? o Many dif approaches to counselling o General idea today is that theory is one thing, reality is another o Theory is fun: dif ways to understand why ppl do things o Theory works: good psychotherapy results in increased self understanding and ultimately can produce changes in lives that increase happiness o Theory is essential to human life:  Theory to help us organize the world around us  Use Schemas (cognitive structures that help us organize info)- can be useful or hinder (if incorrectly applied) o Counselors who don’t use theory may get lost:  Counselling theory provides counsellor wit ha map: there is now “right” way to go, some ways are better recommended, and some achieve different things than others  Having a map doesn’t mean you HAVE to take a certain route, you can always take “side trips” (tangents, different approaches), and you are not travelling alone (must consider client as passenger and what they want from the “trip”) o Your task: Find your map  Find a map that you can live with in the form of one of the established theories of psychotherapy • Easier to learn from the masters before you try to create your own theory • Critically apply theory, acknowledge other approaches/perspectives • Rely on one technical structure, but borrow techniques from other approaches (but w/a clear idea of why/how these techniques are helping you toward your goal) o Acknowledge that theories have biases o Don’t theory hop (too much strain on mind and superficial use of theory is inadequate) • Characteristics of a good theory: o Testing theory against qualities of the world is the business of science (counselling and psychotherapy w/roots in science)  Few practitioners actually engage in scientific research (generally they’re professors if they do) o Precision and testability: theory must have clearly defined constructs and should clearly specify the rlnshps among them  Operational definition=statement that describes how the construct is to be measured “in terms that differ from the data it is meant to explain” • Ie defense mechanisms (hard to measure presence or absence)  Good theory generates predictions about behaviour that are testable  Also need Refutability= you should be able to deduce what kind of info would lead to disconfirmatin of the theory o Empirical validity: good theory needs empirical support  Freud’s idea of unctronrolled methods not good empirical support b/ they reflect indiv views (too much subjectivity to bias)  Better=Controlled case studies w/specific standardized measurements that are made over teh course of counselling and the interventiosn performed are well defined and verified  Studies done in the past in 3 groups: • Meta-analytic studies= combine the results of selected set of studies into an overall index of effectiveness (effect size) o Effect size tells us whether, across all studies, the tx is associated w/significant difs b/w tx and untx groups, or difs b/w 2 theoretical or tx approaches o One of first meta-analytic studies to show efficacy and benefits of psychotherapy • Exemplar studies= those that are generally recognized as stringent comparisons of psychotherapy groups to no tx groups following the best scientific procedures o Aka Efficacy studies and are based on clinical trials approach adopted from pharmacy research o Involve random assignment, narrowly defined entrance criteria and independent raters to assess client dysfunction and improvement o Use tx manuals • Effectiveness approach (called this to emphasize dif b/w this and efficacy or clinical trials methods) o Seligman to propose distinction b/w efficacy and effectiveness o Wanted to assess outcomes of counselling as it actually happens/is practiced in the real world o Fixed number of sessions, strict adherence to manuals, random assignment don’t actually happen in real life therapy  Clients also usually have more than one specific problem  Survey to see what real ppl actually thought about counselling, most ppl found it beneficial, more so wit hthe more time they were getting help  Efficacious= if 2 independent research teams demo that tx better than no tx • Efficacious and specific= when better outcomes when compared to “conditions that ctrl for nonspecific processes” (ie client expectation or effects of attn) o Efficacious tx= cognitive therapy for panic disorder/depression, Exposure therapy for phobias/OCD, CBT for GAD  Few approaches efficacious and specific= Cognitive therapy for GAD and panic disorder, exposure plus response prevention of OCD and exposure therapy for agoraphobia  ESTs= empirically supported treatments • EST movement set off major controversy in professional psychology (lab settings, results generalizable?) o 7 principles by which research concerned w/empirical support for interventions could be reviewed:  Level of specificity should be considered when evaluating outcomes • 4 levels of specificity • Level 1=most general, prevention/psychotherapy/classroom intervention • Level2= major approaches to level 1 activities (ie group therapy, CBT) • Level 3= level of ESTs, application of major approaches to specific problems/populations • Level4= interventions are specific approaches to specific populations/problems (ie a well specified prevention program A for ppl w/risk factor B in cultural characteristic C) • Difs in indiv/cultural diversity not considered for ESTs  Level of specificity should not be restricted to diagnosis  Scientific evidence needs to be examined in its entirety and aggregated appropriately  Evidence for absolute and relative efficacy needs to be presented  Causal attributions for specific ingredients
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