Embracing the Paradigm Clash between the ‘Medical Model’ and Counselling (BACP 2008)

Embracing the Paradigm Clash between the ‘Medical Model’ and Counselling (BACP 2008) 2017-10-15T09:47:43+00:00

Project Description

With the government's policy of 'Improving Access to Psychological Therapies' programme being heavily biased towards CBT, counselling is under severe pressure to fit in with 'medical model' thinking. Over the last few months there has been intense discussion in 'therapy today' both for and against the 'medical model'. How can we find a position that is true to the essence of our work without excluding ourselves from the socially dominant paradigm and discourse? Based on the experience of many counsellors working within the NHS, this guest lecture tries to validate and make sense of the paradigm clash they constantly feel within themselves and with their colleagues. Rather than polarising against the 'medical model', however, I suggest that we might approach the paradigm clash as we would do any split and polarisation in the psyche: we can empathise, resonate, understand both sides of the inherent conflict and therefore facilitate and allow it to develop rather than foreclose it and short-circuit it intellectually. Thus we can find a third position (which is not static) to hold and embrace then tension of the polarities. This third position can then become a tuning fork that resonates with equivalent conflicts in our clients or our organisations. To do this, we need to find each polarity (or ideology) within ourselves and our work, and see it as a belief system that belongs to and grows out of a particular emotional context. In this way, what manifests and appears as irreconcilable philosophical positions can exist and learn from each other as different and diverse human experiences. - the 'medical model' within our own practice: the client brings the 'medical model' into the consulting room through their preconceptions of counselling; - the psychological and developmental roots of our attachment to the 'medical model'; - the 'medical model' versus the 'anti-medical model'; - finding a paradoxical 'third position';

 

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