Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 55 Issue 4 (December 1982), Pages 297-390

Literalism, perspectivism, chaotic fragmentalism and psychotherapy techniques (pages 307-317)

Literalism and chaotic fragmentalism have been advanced as two concepts to explain psychopathology while perspectivism has been used to explain psychological health (Landfield, 1980a). It is hypothesized that, to the extent that they are therapeutic, all therapies move clients toward perspectivism and away from literalism and chaotic fragmentalism. Eight major schools of psychotherapy are discussed in terms of the principles of technique which enable them to change literalism and chaotic fragmentalism. The advantages of a unifying theory permitting diversity of techniques are discussed in relation to the ability of the clinician to be flexible yet not confused. Further, the unifying concepts of literalism, perspectivism, and chaotic fragmentalism are used to understand systematically the strengths and weaknesses of many therapeutic techniques. Finally, the implications of the differences in therapeutic techniques for changing different types of literalisms are discussed.

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