The Pluralistic Approach to Therapy

Professors John McLeod and Mick Cooper are contemporary advocates of utilising a pluralistic approach to therapy producing books and articles on the subject . Here is a brief synopsis.

In recent years pluralism has emerged as a way of thinking about therapy and is based on the assumption that no one therapeutic approach has the monopoly on understanding the causes of distress or being the most helpful response – in other words there is no one-size-fits-all treatment. It suggests therapists should respect understandings and practices from across the therapeutic spectrum, and use their skills to help tailor therapy to the individual client. The approach advocates that different clients are likely to want (and benefit from) different things in therapy and emphasises shared decision making as well as meta therapeutic communication: which pertains to also talking to clients about the process of therapy, what they would like from it and how they would like to get there.

In this respect it is a flexible, collaborative therapy with the client at its heart and appeals to me as a counselling psychologist who is trained in different forms of therapy.

I have also been lucky enough to be involved in a pilot study ‘Pluralistic therapy for depression’ run by professor Mick Cooper, with supervision by professor John McLeod. The results were positive and gave me a great opportunity to test out the program they developed. I was also involved in a symposium at the 2014 Counselling Psychology conference to showcase the possible benefits.

A journal article with some interesting results and findings from the pilot study can be accessed via Roehampton University’s ‘Pluralistic Therapy’ page.