We are pleased to present this issue of Inside Out on the subject of research in Psychotherapy. Because the Human Potential movement, out of which developed the Humanistic form of psychotherapy, was particularly interested in the immediacy of experience, many people have shied away from traditional research methods. This is partly due to the perception that traditional research methods focused on replicability and human experience did not lend itself easily to being reduced to such sharp categories. We note that there does not seem to be very much indigenous research in the area of psychotherapy and we hope more people will look to this in the future.
The critical scrutiny of research is often seen as appropriate to higher education and as the proper domain of academics. It is often seen as cold and without feeling. We hope the articles within will show that critical research can be stimulating and exciting in its application as much as in its outcomes.
We believe the articles in this issue help to show that research is possible in Humanistic psychotherapy. Emmy Van Durzen-Smith takes us through a step by step evaluation of psychotherapy as a separate science – or is it? Alan Carr offers a definite statement about psychotherapy as a result of research. Gerry Myers gives us his very personal account of an experience of doing research and Jean McNiff describes the exciting possibilities of Action Research.
Critically reflecting on our practice as therapists may lead us to confirm that we are effective at what we do and as such can enhance our sense of valuing the work. Equally, critically thinking about the way we work with clients may help us to locate blind spots or areas where we need to re-evaluate our effectiveness (trying too hard, too little, taking too much responsibility or not enough etc.). We hope the contributions in this issue will be inviting to you.
As a result of feedback from readers last year, we publish again a listing of courses leading to professional qualification as psychotherapists. This listing does not include all such courses but we hope it is representative. We hope it is in good time for those of you who are thinking of psychotherapy as a profession. We have an article submitted to us by Ger Murphy, a former editor of the journal, on the current situation in the accreditation debate in Europe. All therapists might usefully pay attention to this article because in the end someone will decide what is the profession of psychotherapy and who can be called a psychotherapist. While we are deeply and actively involved in the development of the profession here in Ireland, it would be foolhardy to neglect the reality that there is another world beyond our borders where vested interests are strongly motivated to define our profession according to their perceptions. Our input is important. ICP (Irish Council for Psychotherapy) cannot truly speak with authority without a clear understanding of what we have to say about the development of our profession.
The editors look forward to hearing from you on any or all of the issues raised in this issue of Inside Out. The address to write to us is on the inside front cover. Next issue we look at Violence and Psychotherapy. As usual, if you wish to comment or to offer something of your own reflection in this area, please send your contribution to the editors.