Training in Psychotherapy

Living reference work entry
Part of the Mental Health and Illness Worldwide book series (MHIW)


Psychotherapy is the use of psychological methods and techniques to treat mental and physical disorders. The development of evidence-based psychotherapies is one of the key achievements of modern health care. Its further evolution is one of the important tasks for contemporary medicine and psychology. Psychotherapy is based on a complex declarative knowledge that comprises knowledge about psychological mechanisms relevant for mental and physical disorders, theories of psychotherapy (e.g., psychodynamic theory, cognitive-behavioral theory, humanistic theory, systemic theory), psychotherapeutic principals, methods, and techniques described in manuals that have been empirically investigated. At the same time, psychotherapy is an art and craft with a complex implicit knowledge and procedural skills that are difficult to describe in words. Psychotherapeutic principals may be contradictory within the same method (e.g., instruct the therapist to be confrontational and empathic at the same time) resulting in the situation that the therapist can follow only one principle at the same time or needs to find a dialectic synthesis. Therapeutic decisions have to be taken in the presence of incomplete sets of information. This means that problem solving requires individual solutions based on rules, decision trees, and specific experiences. There is a need for dealing with contradictory rules and missing consolidated know-how. Knowledge that was acquired in controlled situations has to be applied in complex clinical situations. The psychotherapist needs to integrate rules, experience, procedural knowledge, and intuition to act successfully.


Psychotherapy Medical education 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ulrich Schweiger
    • 1
  • Valerija Sipos
    • 1
  • Fritz Hohagen
    • 1
  1. 1.Universität zu LübeckLübeckGermany

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