Process-Driven Psychotherapy Does Not Need Empirical Research

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Abstract

This response to the commentaries by Michael Basseches and Patrick Luyten underlines the dialogic–dialectical and hermeneutic–phenomenological nature of process-oriented psychotherapy. To both Luyten and Basseches empirical research is necessary and the phenomenological—which studies the common, typical, and essential factors of the field—is not. This is understandable, in view of the fact that they are both basically procedure-oriented. To this basic empirical-technical level they add a hermeneutic one: Basseches quite openly, Luyten in the disguised mode of a weak form of hermeneutics, in which statistics are rhetorical devices that are used not to display facts, but to support the story one wants to tell. Basseches is aware of the risk of manipulation at the service of the dominant ideologies—above all scientism in our time—implicit in a mode of working that is limited to the “technical” and the “practical” (or hermeneutic); therefore he adds a third level, of “critical science,” to the previous 2. A critical attitude is intrinsic to the dialogic–dialectical, hermeneutic–phenomenological approach, inasmuch as it systematically brackets off all preconceptions and expectations. By contrast, it is difficult to understand how a critical science can avoid being conditioned by all sorts of preconceptions that a theory-driven scientist does not know how, or does not want to, bracket off.

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