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Forming of a Theory

I investigated the concept of theory in general and specifically in psychotherapy. I reviewed how philosophers and practitioners compose and utilise theories in their work.

A theory is a rationale which encompasses a collection of reasons which exist to justify our thoughts. When a practitioner’s work is based on previously published theoretical groundings, his interventions are explained by that theoretical base. In psychotherapy, the theoretical framework usually has its coherent practical derivatives which the therapist utilises in his work, such as the style of the therapeutic setting, the professional stance of the therapist and ethical guidelines. A practitioner who composes a new theory, cannot rely on previous theoretical foundations, to justify his course of actions and interventions. The sole knowledge base of the practical theorist is his practical experience interpretive analysis. At first, he has no professional community to support his proposals, and he is solely responsible for the process.

During the early years of my practice, as a mentor, I was not a qualified psychotherapist, and could not use theories as justification for interventions. I used “reality testing” to provide explanations for my interventions each different case.

During the research process, I considered if I worked according to a theory similar to a previously published one, or would be able to conceptualise my own, by examining my approach to my cases and if patterns existed in my therapeutic interventions.

I have studied many accepted psychotherapeutic theories, do not disregard their value, and am aware that this theoretical knowledge may affect the way in which I conceptualise my understandings about my cases. However, I reached the understanding that, unlike other psychotherapeutic theories which have practical derivatives, my ReachingOut approach has no generalised theoretical base. Like in Grounded Theory procedure, the knowledge used to direct the process is the knowledge gathered from the field, which is all the information absorbed from the first phone call with the patient onwards. I could not and did not want to compose a generalised theoretical base for my work since every case has unique characteristics. I concluded that instead of composing a new psychotherapeutic theory, I would compose a practical working model. The ReachingOut model is a simplified representation of a system of practical techniques I use to collect the information which directs my decision-making process and the techniques utilised in my therapeutic interventions. Ofer

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