Many “systems” of eclectic therapy are presented by their founders as late twentieth-century innovations even though they are derived from identifiable techniques employed for decades and even centuries in the past. Founders of some of these systems give to their schemes an academic primatur, adorning them with elaborate terminologies and neologisms and sometimes organizing a new school around them which if they are charismatic attract enthusiastic audiences.
What to expect?
Problems are treated by a variety of techniques, for example, operant conditioning, classical conditioning, implosion, paradoxical intent, catharsis, sentence completion, “hot seat,” hypnosis, awareness exercises (Gestalt), group and individual physical activities, special techniques for sexual dysfunction, deep massage, yoga, meditation, relaxation, rational-emotive therapy techniques (self-talk), thought stopping, fantasy trips, self-suggestion, assertive training, modeling, role playing, role reversal, behavioral rehearsal, psychodrama, and drugs where necessary. These techniques are employed selectively in relation to the special needs and problems of each patient.
How does it work?
It involves practical attempts to combine therapies creatively to treat special problems, taking into account the cultural atmosphere of the patient. One such attempt was developed by Morita in 1917 to treat types of neurosis common in Japan. This is known as Morita therapy (Reynolds, DK, 1976). Therapy consists of hospitalization, usually in a Moritist hospital, the first week of which consists of complete bed rest and daily visits from the therapist. Patients are not allowed to have visitors or to engage in any reading or conversation. They may at this time worry and preoccupy themselves with their problems. The second week is more active. They are out of bed, engaging in light hospital work, and are assigned simple chores. They are not permitted to have visitors, to read, or to chat with others. They must keep a written diary, which the therapist reads daily and to which the therapist replies in writing. They attend lectures and meetings, being exposed to persuasive arguments toward accepting themselves and their symptoms and toward engaging in constructive activities. In the third week and thereafter they continue to go to lectures and meetings. They are assigned to heavy work and are enjoined to talk to other patients. They may read light literature. Finally they can engage in visits and are delegated to do errands. The Moritist life principles are also utilized on an outpatient basis and in groups.
Another therapy practiced in Japan is Naikan, which consists of a concentrated 7-day period of psychological and spiritual restoration during which the therapist as a guide subjects the patient to exercises in self-observation and remembrance of past experiences. The patient is also exposed to persuasive arguments. The sole aim is social readaptation. The technique is active and avoids focusing on transference and resistance.
When is it used?
The application of tactics to coordinate with the needs and specific learning patterns of the patient will promote the most effective results in therapy, and here the sensitivity, experience, and self-awareness of the therapist will be of consequence. Under these circumstances the patient is subjected to strategies from which the therapist personally derives greater help than the patient.
Role of therapist:
It is rare indeed that a therapist will use only one type of intervention and not exploit the rich body of procedures that lend themselves to usage for diverse conditions and situations. Even Freudian psychoanalysts, considered by many the traditional purists in the field, employ or refer patients who require medications, hypnosis, sexual therapy, marital therapy, or other adjunctive procedures in addition to their probings of the unconscious.