Klaus Grawe, University of Bern
Psychotherapy Research 7(1), 1-19, 1997

The current state of psychotherapy research is briefly reviewed, and the vision of a truly research-informed psychotherapy is presented. This research-informed psychotherapy would flexibly use all empirically validated mechanisms of change in psychotherapy. Four such mechanisms of change are identified and discussed: (a) mastery/coping, (b) clarification of meaning, (c) problem actuation, and (d) resource activation. A unified model of psychotherapy consisting of 5 dimensions and a total of 12 perspectives is introduced and illustrated.

To what end do we psychotherapy researchers conduct research? Do we not strive toward a better, more effective psychotherapy for as many disturbed persons as possible? Do we not want to move beyond the current state of the field, developing ever better concepts and procedures on the basis of our research? What have we achieved, however, so far?
Psychotherapy research can be divided into four phases on the basis of the fundamental question addressed (Grawe, 1992):

1. The legitimation phase addressing the basic question: Is psychotherapy effective?
2. The competition phase addressing the basic question: Which form of psychotherapy is better or even best?
3. The “prescriptive” psychotherapy phase addressing the basic question: Which form of therapy is indicated for whom?
4. The process-research phase addressing the basic question: How does psychotherapy work?

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