Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

A Recursive Frame Analysis of Virginia Satir through the Biopsychosocial Lens

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

A Recursive Frame Analysis of Virginia Satir through the Biopsychosocial Lens

Article excerpt

There is a movement in the field to a more expansive understanding of the therapeutic process (Lebow, 1997; Pinsof, 1983; Smith & Southern, 2005). In order to accomplish this goal, several theorists have begun to develop metatheories. Lebow (1997) indicated that a metatheory attempts to make the connection between the theory and practice to delineate the relationships between the variables. Lebow also noted that the goal of a methatheory is to be more expansive and holistic by integrating several established therapeutic orientations into one expansive framework. The development of a comprehensive frame or metatheory is seen as one of the most needed and most elusive aspects in the field today (Goldfried & Castonguay, 1992).

Goldfried and Castonguay (1992) address the psychotherapy community to discuss how integration can be helpful within the field. Goldfried and Castonguay found three main questions regarding integration. The first essential question is where is psychotherapy heading. They indicated that a majority of therapists and empirical research have acknowledged and identified that there are common factors among the different schools of therapy. Goldfried and Castonguay noted that theories help us make sense of the complex nature of humanity and change, therefore, a comprehensive frame will delineate a broader view of humanity and guide and inform integrative research.

The second question that Goldfried and Castonguay raise is about the future of integrative approaches. According to Goldfried and Castonguay, the integrative movement needs to focus on combining the best of different orientations to make treatments more effective. Also, they believe that as the field grows, a clear conceptual model of change needs to be developed, and epistemological differences need to be addressed.

The third question that they raise is how might the integrative movement contribute to psychotherapy? Castonguay and Goldfried believed that it was doubtful that one grand theory would be able to encapsulate all of the current differences within the field or synthesize the various epistemological differences, although the integrative movement may allude to various interventions and processes that are more effective and efficient.

The use of a metatheory has also been discussed in the training and research literature. McCollum (1990) notes the importance of developing a cohesive integrative approach for training therapists that focused on both knowing what to do and how to act. His major contention is that learning occurs at the content and process level; therefore, the learning context demands an integrative approach. Braveman (1995) identified the need for an integrative training approach that combines individual and systems perspectives. Bravemen believed that competent therapists should be able to view the problem from intrapsychic and systemic frames and that a move toward integration is needed to encapsulate the complexity of the individual and system by admonishing the intrapsychic, relational, contextual, and biological components.

One key line of research that has arisen from attempting to find a larger frame is the research in common factors. Common factors attempt to assess the similarities between effective therapies by analyzing key traits or patterns that are associated with successive therapy. Common factors approach is similar to a meta-analysis where effective ingredients or factors are extrapolated and used as guiding principles (Smith & Southern, 2005). Sprinkle, Davis, and Lewbow (2009) cited Davis and Piercy's 2007 definition of common factors and divided common factors into two categories: narrow common factors and broad common factors. Sprinkle et al. indicated that broad common factors referred to the variables associated with therapy itself including the therapeutic alliance and narrow common factors are associated with the use of a model including the mechanisms and inventions for change. …

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