VIDEO: Is Therapy Really a Science?

...Or is It a Conversational Craft?

William Doherty

What do the masters of truly good therapy have in common? According to couples therapist Bill Doherty, they know how to balance their desire to guide therapy with their ability to empathically listen. It's this quality, he adds, which drives home the truth about therapy. At its heart, this work isn't a science. It's a craft.

Here, Doherty explains why therapists are more like keen mechanics than scientists.

William Doherty, PhD, is a professor and director of the Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project at the University of Minnesota. His books include Take Back Your Marriage, Take Back Your Kids and Medical Family Therapy with Susan McDaniel and Jeri Hepworth.

"A craft has a useful outcome," Doherty says. "Our craft, our conversations, are about repair, not just repartee. Our conversation is for people who are in pain, and who want to function better in their lives."

Is there a demand for this craft? Absolutely, Doherty says. There’s a growing hunger for authentic ways to live and connect, he explains. "The therapy stars of the future will be those who so successfully address the needs and engagement styles of the culture that they’ll open up opportunities for the rest of us to prosper."


Stay tuned for more of Bill's clinical wisdom in our upcoming video blogs!

Did you enjoy this video? You might also enjoy Bill's article "New Choices for New Times," where he offers tips for practicing in today's marketplace, or other highlights from our assessment of the psychotherapy profession in Taking the Pulse of Psychotherapy: We're Older. Are We Better?, including reflections from Mary Pipher, Scott Miller, Kenneth Hardy, and more!

Topic: Anxiety/Depression | Trauma

Tags: abusive | addictions | alchohol | alcoholism | anger | anger management classes | avoidance | Bessel van der Kolk | child abuse | childhood abuse | depression | DSM | PTSD | relationships | veterans | war | women

Comments - (existing users please login first)
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

1 Comment

Sunday, November 27, 2016 6:39:18 PM | posted by Greg Dudzinski
Bill, as often, is dead on here! Awesome!