Post in class debate on mechanisms of change pose

This is one of my favorite days of teaching Theories and Interventions. At the end of the semester, after breaking up sections of specific theories/mechanisms of change (e.g.,  dynamic, cognitive, behavioral, etc.) for the months before, I introduce students to the debate between common and specific factors. After a few days of lecture, I break them into debate teams to address some of the ‘big picture’ questions that come from this debate.

I ask things like: (a) do ESTs provide the BEST care for our clients, (b) if you were designing a psychology training program and selecting course focus, should specific factor EST exposure/training be emphasized more or should common factors/micro-skills be the focus to make ‘better clinicians’, and (c) how directive can (and should) manualized treatments be?

I was super proud of how well the 1st year counseling students did – they killed the debate (with teams switching positions halfway through).


Published by Dr. Ingram's Psychology Research Lab

I'm an assistant professor of counseling psychology at Texas Tech University and an active researcher of psychological assessment, veterans, and treatment engagement. I am also in private practice here in Lubbock Texas.

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