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Dyne, D. (1985). Questions of ‘Training’? A contribution from a peripatetic cousin. Free Associations, 1(3):92-147.

(1985). Free Associations, 1(3):92-147

Questions of ‘Training’? A contribution from a peripatetic cousin

Deryck Dyne

Psychotherapy as a profession in the United Kingdom is experiencing another of those periodic crises that focus on the creation of a register of its practitioners. The occasion for the present episode is the establishment of the Standing Conference of Psychotherapy Organizations (the Standing Conference),1 and its symptoms are the familiar anxieties about who shall be excluded and why. Debate, which is directed at questions of identity, standards, training and practice, brings to life the many unresolved conflictual and troubled elements within the field. The tensions are expressed by formulating these questions in ways that inhibit solution, and thus are symptoms of our collective unease rather than useful tools for resolving it. Particularly, discussions are cast in terms which posit opposition between the orthodox, who have a (respectable) tradition, and the eclectics who have no (regard for) tradition. I contend that this is a wrong and dangerously misleading formulation, which results from the absence of a tradition and a mechanism by which the collectivity of psychotherapists can collaborate to develop a unifying structure of theory and practice; that our basic problem is expressed and exacerbated by the recent emergence of so-called eclectic groups; that eclecticism is a necessary and organic emergence which is also a paradigm of the solution; that for various reasons the ‘eclectics’ have largely failed to inhabit their case and have therefore not contributed as they might; that there are within the profession substrata of unity giving more grounds for optimism than may be generally supposed.

My focus will necessarily be on the situation in the U.K.

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