Scientific Validity of Body Psychotherapy
Background: There is a 'political' process within the European Association of Psychotherapy whereby each European Wide Organisation (EWO), usually representing a modality within psychotherapy, must establish itself as a "scientific" form of psychotherapy before it can become a European Wide Accrediting Organisation (EWAO). Once it is accepted as an EWAO, it can accredit Training or Accrediting Organisations within various countries and once it is also accepted by the National Umbrella Organisation (NUO) or the National Accrediting Organisation (NAO) for Psychotherapy in that country, it can become a European Accredited Psychotherapy Training Institute (EAPTI). An EAPTI can promote their graduate psychotherapists for direct award of the European Certificate for Psychotherapy.
However, unfortunately, some psychotherapy modalities are not accepted in certain countries: i.e. Body Psychotherapy is not recognised in Austria, and is not accepted in Holland. These are mainly 'political' processes (rather than 'scientific') as some countries restrict the number of accepted types of psychotherapy to only 3 or 4 (Psychodynamic, Cognitive, Systemic, Humanistic) and other countries accept 20 or 30 different types. The EAP can (theoretically) apply pressure on the NAO to accept modalities in their country that are accepted in other countries, and this may be the only way to get these Training or Accrediting Organisations proper political recognition in that country, though it is usually the Ministry of Health (or similar) that formally accepts a type of psychotherapy.
In order for any modality within psychotherapy, to be accepted as an EWO, it has to establish itself as "scientific" - and it must answer the "15 questions about Scientific Validity" satisfactorily. Representatives from two other EWO's scrutinise the answers and then make recommendations to the EWO Committee, that in turn decides whether to accept this modality, or whether further information is needed. Their decision then has to be ratified by the Board of the EAP. Then it gets fully accepted as an EWAO, and in due corse can become an EWAO. It is a political process, but it hinges on the answers to these "scientific" questions.
The questions were developed in a Scientific Validation Sub-Committee by David Boadella and others. They are based on the book "Psychotherapies: eine neue Wissenschaft vom Menschen", which consists of numerous distinguished contributions by psychotherapists from Austria, Switzerland, Germany, & England and is "without doubt the best single book on psychotherapy as a human science, in any language". They were passed at the EAP General Assembly in Paris in June 1998. They are available on this website, as well as the EAP website: www.europsyche.org.
EABP submitted our answers to these 15 Questions in 1999, and - after a little political process - they were accepted in 2000. So Body-Psychotherapy is accepted by the EAP as a "scientifically valid" mainstream: however, we were asked to recognise that this does not automatically cover every 'modality' or 'method' within psychotherapy. And it would also be presumptuous to assume that our answer was complete or finite for all time, so this may be an evolving and on-going dialogue. Please help us, if you are interested.
One major development was that several modalities of Body-Psychotherapy also had to submit their answers to the 15 Questions and were put through the same 'political' process of acceptance: these "scientifically validated" modalities of Body Psychotherapy are: Hakomi, Biodynamic Psychology, Unitive Psychotherapy, Bodynamics, Emotional ReIntegration, Character Analytic Vegetotherapy and Postural Integrational Psychotherapy.
In addition, Biosynthesis, Bioenergetic Analysis, Psycho-Organic Analysis and Concentrative Movement Psychotherapy have all been accepted independently, by the same similar process within EWOC.
Update February 2006:
The EAP have now accepted that the 'requirement' that all Body-Psychotherapy modalities have to be accredited for the 15 Questions independently and externally from their 'mainstream' organisation EABP was somewhat discriminatory. The various modalities within EABP that have already been accredited were all of a high standard. So, it has now been decided that EABP is able to do such an accreditational (or scientific validation) process internally and then put forward the modality as being "scientifically valid" to the EAP. It has not yet been determined exactly how this process will be done, and by whom.
The 15 Questions about Scientific Validity
Please provide evidence that your approach:
- Has clearly defined areas of enquiry, application, research, and practice.
- Has demonstrated its claim to knowledge and competence within its field tradition of diagnosis/assessment and of treatment/intervention.
- Has a clear and self-consistent theory of the human being, of the therapeutic relationship, and of health and illness.
- Has methods specific to the approach which generate developments in the theory of psychotherapy, demonstrate new aspects in the understanding of hman nature, and lead to ways of treatment/intervention.
- Includes processes of verbal exchange, alongside an awareness of non-verbal sources of information and communication.
- Offers a clear rationale for treatment/interventions facilitating constructive change of the factors provoking or maintaining illness or suffering.
- Has clearly defined strategies enabling clients to develop a new organization of experience and behaviour.
- Is open to dialogue with other psychotherapy modalities about its field of theory and practice.
- Has a way of methodically describing the chosen fields of study and the methods of treatment/intervention which can be used by other colleagues.
- Is associated with information which is the result of conscious self reflection, and critical reflection by other professionals within the approach.
- Offers new knowledge, which is differentiated and distinctive, in the domain of psychotherapy.
- Is capable of being integrated with other approaches considered to be part of scientific psychotherapy so that it can be seen to share with them areas of common ground.
- Describes and displays a coherent strategy to understanding human problems, and an explicit relation between methods of treatment/intervention and results.
- Has theories of normal and problematic human behaviour which are explicitly related to effective methods of diagnosis/assessment and treatment/intervention.
- Has investigative procedures which are defined well enough to indicate possibilities of research.
If you would like to add to the process of answering these questions for Body-Psychotherapy as a mainstream branch of psychotherapy or for your particular modality within Body-Psychotherapy, which is the next phase of the 'game', please, please feel free.
Please send your answers to Courtenay Young. Thank you.