Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Eclecticism in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Terence PattersonEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_524


Assimilative integration; Eclecticism; Heterogeneity; Synthesis; Theoretical integration


The term eclectic has been both widely used and misunderstood in the field of psychotherapy. Recently it has come into some disrepute and developed the connotation of indiscriminately drawing from various theories and techniques without a core foundation. Eclecticism has emerged in couple and family therapy (CFT) in particular due to the multiple approaches that do not clearly fit traditional theoretical models and techniques and are not anchored in a comprehensive conceptual base. The term systemic has also been appropriated by some as a defining aspect of CFT, while many others consider systems to be core to the entire field of. The wider realm of psychotherapy has delineated models that distinguish eclecticism from other models such as spiritual orientation, which can be viewed as an aspect of diversity.

Prominent Associated Figures

Arnold Lazarus, John Norcross, Marvin...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Rachel Diamond
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Saint JosephWest HarfordUSA