eclectic approach
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Understanding the Layers to a problem:

Still, water runs deep they say, and rightly so- the layers and the flow giving it a deep. To shell out the pearl at the bottom of the ocean could only be achieved by pulling these layers back which is why understanding the layers of the problem for which the client has decided to opt for therapy is so important, giving it a well-structured approach to any therapy practice.

Layer 1:

There are two things to be considered here. First is the surface problem or the presenting problem. This is the problem for which the client has approached therapy. Second is the outcome which the client desires at the end of the therapy.

Layer 2:

Behavior. This includes the current behavior as well as the behavior which would need to be implemented to get the desired outcome.

Layer 3:

Real time thoughts, emotions and feelings.

Layer 4:

Core beliefs, values as well as defence mechanisms.

Layer 5:

Past experiences and traumas.

Layer 6:

Repressed memories.

Understanding the layers can help mental health professionals better the structure of strategies that they employ for the client to learn the necessary skill set to find their inner peal.

What is the Eclectic Approach to Psychotherapy?

Looking at a trend in the layers and what they comprise of, we can see that the problems can be multi-fold. In these cases, therapy cannot be a one-size-fits-all solution. An eclectic approach to therapy combines different strategies from various approaches and schools of thought into a seamless cloak of warmth that can now be laid on the client so that he feels comfortable but needs not to know of the process.

A combination of various approaches to therapy is used here, but the basic concept remains the same that is to carry out changes in the conscious and subconscious state of mind. It has been used synonymously with ‘Integrated approach’. The only difference, though, is an eclectic approach is based on concepts, not just strategies.

Basically, it comes down to deciding what puzzle pieces fit together the best so that we have a beautiful masterpiece of a unified harmony in front of us.

The human mind comprises of the conscious and the unconscious. The conscious and the unconscious mind with all of its complexities converge into what could be called the “Critical Filter”.

What exactly is the ‘Critical Filter’?

It could be imagined as the gatekeeper that filters and controls what beliefs, values, and defense mechanisms get to be a part of our conscious mind and what stays in our unconscious.

To bypass this critical filter and for introducing new beliefs and behaviors it is vital that the unconscious is in a highly receptive state. Logically speaking any therapy will only work if the client is in a receptive state. The only method to achieve this could be ‘Hypnosis’.

Eclectic Approach to therapy makes use of ‘Flip Model’.

Flip Model:

  1. Source of the problem [Reason could be: I. Others, situations, future]
  2. Overt/Covert emotions because of it.
  3. A way out.

In the simplest of meanings, the Flip model is flipping the client’s reaction to the source of the problem so that they understand that there could potentially be different outcomes to the same source. Taking the hypnosis approach helps with a better custom therapy model which makes the client more receptive is an insightful approach to therapy

So, with a basic understanding of eclectic therapy and the use of a receptive state, it would be interesting to try if a classical approach actually can be inculcated eclectically.

Behavioural Therapy with an Eclectic Approach:

For some concerns, therapists would go for a Behavioural approach to therapy. This adheres to the implication that behaviors either covert or overt are a result of our experiences.

5 Ways in which Behavioural Therapy can follow an eclectic approach and result in a more harmonious outcome:


The closer the person’s behavior to the desired behavior, the greater the reward received. This works well while reinforcing new behaviors that seem difficult for the client.


Akin to a few strategies from Neuro-Linguistic Programming like Chunking down and Chain Anchors, one difficult behavior is broken down into smaller chunks of different aspects.


Applicable in case of phobias wherein the client is exposed to the stimulus which creates anxiety in a degree of gradual increase done quickly. Although flooding in itself would be considered unethical by most but by putting the client in a more receptive state(hypnosis) and also using disassociation to further ensure the stability of the client it can be used in a more sustainable way.

Systematic Desensitization:

It merges concepts from Classical conditioning and hypnosis wherein varying degrees of anxiety can be controlled.

Aversion Therapy:

Any behavior that the client does not desire is paired with an aversive stimulus.

The eclectic approach to therapy has a number of applications in behavioral therapy as seen above in modern therapeutic practice.

Read also: Log Kya Kahenge

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