Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 59 Issue 2 (June 1986), Pages 113-203

Teaching the psychotherapeutic method: Some literary parallels (pages 113-121)

There is a need for a theoretical account of the psychotherapeutic process or method, as distinct from psychotherapeutic or psychoanalytic theory itself. A four‐stage model is presented which attempts to delineate the elements of the psychotherapeutic method: structure, space, discovery and description. This account puts discovery as the central theme in psychotherapy. The psychotherapeutic method as described is compared first with Medawar' account of the scientific method, and then with two literary versions of creativity. The conditions under which psychotherapeutic discovery occurs, scientific hypotheses arise and artistic activity takes place are structurally similar. The implications of this for teaching psychotherapy are discussed, especially in relation to the establishment and recognition of transferential experience.

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