Schools of Psychotherapy and the Beginnings of a Scientific Approach

James F. Boswell*, Brian A. Sharpless, Leslie S. Greenberg, Laurie Heatherington, Jonathan D. Huppert, Jacques P. Barber, Marvin R. Goldfried, Louis G. Castonguay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The theoretical, clinical, and empirical foundations of psychotherapy come from five primary movements that still exist today, continue to evolve, and remain scientifically productive: psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, humanistic, systemic, and integrative. The goal of this chapter is to examine the philosophical, clinical, and scientific underpinnings of each of these major traditions in detail. Experts in these five approaches will describe: (a) the model of psychopathology (especially focusing upon etiological and maintenance factors emphasized in assessment and case formulation); (b) the focus and specific techniques used in treatment planning and implementation; (c) the hypothesized therapeutic mechanisms of change; and (d) the outcome literature/empirical support for each modality. We conclude with a look toward the future of the science of psychotherapy and the scientist-practitioner model of psychotherapy.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Clinical Psychology
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199940202
ISBN (Print)9780195366884
StatePublished - 18 Sep 2012

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Oxford University Press, 2014.


  • Cognitive-behavior therapy
  • Humanistic therapy
  • Integrative therapy
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Systemic therapy


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