Each of you have had coursework in each of the four basic theoretical models: Psychodynamic, Existential/Humanistic, Family Systems Theory, and Cognitive/Behavioral. You will need to be fluent in at least two theoretical models to demonstrate competency in conceptualization, treatment planning, and intervention. We will practice these skills throughout the year.
You will compile your best theoretical rubric for understanding clinical data based on what you have learned so far. It is expected that you will add to this conceptual base as you complete more advanced coursework in various theoretical orientations, deepen your conceptual thinking, and integrate research that emerges. Ideally, you will build to this rubric throughout your clinical training and into your career. Delineating a theoretical framework now will help you sharpen your conceptual and treatment planning skills throughout the year.
Basic questions that should be considered include, but are not limited to, the following:
What are the core tenets of this theoretical approach? Tenets are the principles or beliefs that are at the heart of the approach. How would you express the core tenets of your primary theoretical approach in a few sentences?
How does your theoretical framework conceptualize psychopathology? What causes psychopathology to develop and to persist? (i.e., mood issues, anxiety, relational problems, identity issues, severe psychopathology)
What information is critical to forming a cohesive conceptualization? In other words, what information is important to collect in formulating a clinical impression from your theoretical framework? (i.e., family relationships, childhood experiences, thoughts, behaviors, patterns)
How is psychopathology healed, how are symptoms relieved? What is the mechanism of psychological change? How does your theoretical model explain the healing and change that occurs in therapy? What terms or concepts does your theory have about this?
How does psychotherapy, from this theoretical framework, facilitate this healing? What is the psychotherapist’s role in contributing to client change?
Rationale for therapeutic techniques and interventions
What are common techniques and interventions from this perspective? Why are they used? When are they used? How do they align with the model’s core tenets?
This can be in narrative or outline form. It should be thorough enough to be sophisticated, but short enough to be distilled and useful.