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).