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The common factors model of psychotherapy and informed consent with Garson Leder (work in progress)

The common factors model of psychotherapy suggests that psychotherapy works by virtue of a set of features shared between all therapies (e.g. the relationship between therapists and patient, and the generation of expectations). This competes with the widely held alternative explanation that therapy works by virtue of its specific techniques. The common factors model generates a problem for informed consent that has not been adequately appreciated: therapists who adhere to the common factors model risk misleading patients, regarding the nature of the treatment they're delivering. This is because the rationale that one would typically give for the methods used involves stating or implying that therapy works because of the specific techniques employed. Garson Leder and I articulate the challenge for informed consent that this model poses, and we argue that one can be honest about the nature of therapy without undermining its efficacy. 

What's truth got to do with it? Self-narratives and psychotherapy (work in progress)

Most authors suggest that the truth of what one comes to believe as the result of psychotherapy is unimportant. Various proposals involve the suggestion that our narratives be understood such that they are not assessable in terms of their strict truth. I argue that this is a mistake by (i) illustrating that self-narrative aim at truth by virtue of being composed of beliefs, (ii) looking to the harm of false narratives, and (iii) illustrating that the adoption of such a stance poses a dilemma: either informed consent is violated, or the therapist risks undermining therapy by revealing that they don't necessarily believe the therapeutic narrative constructed with the patient.

Psychotherapeutic fictionalism (work in progress)

Largely in response to the findings that illustrate that all psychotherapies are roughly equally effective, some have proposed that we regard psychotherapeutic theories and their resulting narratives as myths or metaphors. In this paper, I articulate a version of what I take to be instrumentalism about therapy in the form of psychotherapeutic fictionalism, the view that applies the interpretive strategy of 'fictionalism' to psychotherapy. My aim is to show the multiple forms it might take, to assess whether it is a plausible account of how therapeutic practice actually precedes, and to question whether an ethical concern regarding sincerity and consent arises if we were to adopt it.

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