WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF THERAPEUTIC CONTRACTS IN MENTAL HEALTH?
The philosopher Nietzsche distinguished between three contrasting purposes in his essay on the “Use and Disadvantage of History to Life”: it may stimulate a collector’s curiosity, serve as a tool of intellectual critique, or be chosen as a heroic monument. Psychotherapeutic systems differ equally in their approach to time, space, and individuality.Psychoanalysts attend to highly personal “free associations” and relate them to past experiences. Gestalt therapists cultivate “here and now experience.” Behaviourists prefer standardized techniques to modify observable habits. Many neurotic patients seem to get better in spite of all this controversy once they find a therapist who believes in the same things, regardless of the method used. Therapy should make deliberate use of such nonspecific effects and proceed in accordance with beliefs about help, as long as this would seem reasonable. Counterproductive beliefs are then confronted through cognitive reappraisal.
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