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Welcome to Psychotherapedia

What is Psychotherapedia?

Psychotherapedia is an Internet forum where leading researchers, scholars, theorists, and clinicians who are devoted to advancing the field of clinical science and psychotherapeutics can contribute theoretical constructs, principles, empirical findings, as well as methods and techniques of contemporary psychotherapy.

Psychotherapy researchers, theorists, and clinicians have been delineating some of the complex interrelationships among many factors at work in the quest for increasing the effectiveness of psychotherapy. It has been well established in the empirical literature that relational factors (Norcross, 2002.[1] play an important role in determining treatment outcome. The quality of the therapeutic alliance, patient factors, and therapist characteristics all affect the overall potency of the treatment process and outcome. Most clinical scientist believe that psychotherapy also includes the theoretical maps which we use to orient and guide the treatment as well as to serve as tools for researchers. We are also beginning to discern from the accumulating evidence base principles that optimize change (Castonguay & Beutler, 2006.[2] In addition to the relational factors, and emergent principles, methods and techniques of psychotherapy represent the technologies which are embedded into relational processes and utilized as tools which psychotherapist incorporate into the psychotherapeutic process.

We are embarking on a new journey as the field of psychotherapy matures toward a unified clinical science (Magnavita, 2006.[3] It appears that we are leaving the era of integration and entering a new phase of unification whereby the underlying principles and processes that operate in all approaches to psychotherapy are being more clearly articulated (Magnavita, 2008.[4] Considerable progress has been and continues to be made in mapping the important elements of contemporary psychotherapeutic (See Figure 1 below). Theory is the foundation upon which contemporary psychotherapeutics rests. The principles emerge out of the combination of the patient-therapist factors as they are applied in the technical process of utilizing methods and techniques, which are the central domain.


Theoretical Models of Personality, Psychopathology, and Psychotherapy

There has been a significant advance over the 21st century in the development of theories of personality, psychopathology, and psychotherapy. As clinical science has mature there has been increasing convergence and agreement on some of the most important domains of human functioning and maladaptation with evidence from multiple disciplines. Personality systematics has been a new approach to understanding how personality is embedded in the total ecological system.

Relational Factors (Patient-therapist characteristics)

In addition to methods and techniques it has been demonstrated empirically that certain relational factors enhance or detract from the treatment process (Norcross, 2002).[1]

Principles of Psychotherapy

Researchers have begun to identify the principles of psychotherapy which represent a distillation of therapist/patient factors, methods and techniques, and relational characteristics (Castonguay & Beutler, 2006.)[2]

Methods and Techniques of Psychotherapy

The methods and specific techniques of psychotherapy are essential technological action sequences which operate within a specific domain of the total relational-biopsychosocial system of the individual or larger groups. For example there are many types of schema identification and recognition which are primarily directed toward restructuring the intrapsychic subsystem or what occurs within the individual. These techniques are specific action sequences utilized and initiated by psychotherapists with the goal of enhancing functioning, re-patterning processes, and leading to new learning and consolidation. The field of psychotherapy lacks a well articulated map of the methods and techniques of psychotherapy. This is a critical challenge for the contemporary psychotherapeutics and the completion of this evolving resource represents a major advance for the field. Within the clinical sciences an important advance was in the articulation of the criteria and elaboration of the spectrum of mental disorders.

Although controversial in many ways there is little doubt that this step forward in nosology and classification has led to much research and other advances. Other scientific disciplines have embarked on similar if not more challenging endeavors which have led to major scientific break through such as the sequencing of the human genome and others in progress such as the cataloging of all species on earth into a accessible data base. The Unified Psychotherapy Project (UPP) represents one such challenge.

Incorporating a unified conceptualization based on theoretical and scientific advances over the past century a framework consisting of four levels is being used to map the biopsychosocial sphere as follows:

Level I: Intrapsychic-biological substrate
Level II: Interpersonal-dyadic substrate
Level III: Relational-triadic substrate
Level IV: Sociocultural-familial Matrix

Each of these four levels are associated with a superordinate method of restructuring with subtypes and techniques which we are in the process of cataloguing, defining, giving examples of and eventually will be including a videoclip demonstrating how the technique is utilized. Associated with each of the above levels are the following methods:

Level I: Intrapsychic Restructuring (IR)
Level II: Dyadic Restructuring (DR)
Level III: Triadic Restructuring (TR)
Level IV: Mesosystem Restructuring (MR)
  • Please click on these to explore deeper levels of analysis.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Norcross, J. C. (Ed.). (2002). Psychotherapy relationships that work: Therapist contributions and responsiveness to patients. New York: Oxford University Press.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Castonguay, L. G., & Beutler, L. E. (Eds.). (2006). Principles of therapeutic change that work. New York: Oxford University Press.
  3. Magnavita, J. J. (2006). In search of the unifying principles of psychotherapy: Conceptual, empirical, and clinical convergence. American Psychologist, 61(8), 882-892.
  4. Magnavita, J. J. (2008). Toward the unification of clinical science: The next wave in the evolution of psychotherapy? Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 18(3), 264-291.