Volume 27, number 1, January 2005
1. A Narrative Approach to Strategic Eclecticism (Pages 1-12)
Jeffrey T. Guterman; James Rudes
Strategic eclecticism is set forth as a basis from which to use divergent theories and techniques within narrative therapy, a process-oriented model informed by postmodernism. The theory and practice of narrative therapy are described. Principles and guidelines for employing a narrative approach to strategic eclecticism are explicated along with a case example. Directions for future research and theory building also are considered. It is suggested that a narrative approach to strategic eclecticism speaks to the need for convergence between the modernist and postmodernist schools.
2. Mastery and Expertise in Counseling (Pages 13-18)
Thomas Skovholt; Len Jennings
As one of the great inventions of the last half of the 20th century, counseling offers great hope and promise. Yet for counseling practitioners, within this hope and promise, there is confusion about how to help and what constitutes mastery and expertise. It is like being in a fog and searching for mastery. And it matters because the counselor’s contribution to counseling outcome is significant. Factors in counselor mastery and expertise are explored.
3. Searching for Mastery (Pages 19-31)
Len Jennings; Matthew Hanson; Thomas M. Skovholt; Tabitha Grier
The study of expertise has a long and textured history, and it continues to be an active area of research
among researchers and practitioners interested in human performance, giftedness, and achievement.
In this literature review, we explore the concept of expertise across disciplines to gain a better understanding
of the common elements of expertise and its relevance to the counseling profession.
4. Nine Ethical Values of Master Therapists (Pages 32-47)
Len Jennings; Ashley Sovereign; Nancy Bottorff; Melissa Pederson Mussell; Christopher Vye
This study employed the Consensual Qualitative Research method (Hill, Thompson, & Williams,
1997) to reanalyze interview data from a previous qualitative study of the personal characteristics
of master therapists (Jennings & Skovholt, 1999). Previous research has demonstrated that therapists
utilize a variety of resources when making ethical decisions, including professional codes of
conduct and their own values. The current study’s analysis of 10 master therapists’ interviews
resulted in the identification of nine ethical values related to their clinical practice: (a) relational
connection, (b) autonomy, (c) beneficence, (d) nonmaleficence, (e) competence, (f) humility, (g)
professional growth, (h) openness to complexity and ambiguity, and (i) self-awareness. Conducting
oneself ethically is a critical task of the competent therapist (American Psychological Association,
2002). Making the best ethical decisions can be extremely challenging for most therapists due to the
multitude of complex ethical situations that arise in practice. The goal of this study is to examine
the ethical values of therapists considered to be “the best of the best” by their professional colleagues.
It is hoped that such an examination will help to illuminate the ethical values that these
master therapists seem to draw upon in their work.
5. Master Therapists’ Construction of the Therapy Relationship (Pages 48-70)
Michael F. Sullivan; Thomas M. Skovholt; Len Jennings
Qualitative research methods were used to elicit master therapists’ statements regarding their use and
understanding of the therapy relationship. The master therapists were identified and recruited in a
previous study (Jennings & Skovholt, 1999) through a procedure used to create a sample of information-rich
cases.The result of the analysis is a Model of Relationship Stances.The Safe Relationship
Domain is composed of three categories of therapist actions: Responding, Collaborating, and Joining.
The Challenging Relationship Domain also is composed of three categories of therapist actions:
Using Self, Engaging, and Objectivity.The domains and categories are conceptualized as relationship
stances utilized by the master therapists to meet individual client needs.
6. Cultural Competence and Master Therapists:
An Inextricable Relationship (Pages 71-81)
Striving for cultural competence and developing expertise are both highly desirable objectives in
the field of mental health counseling. That the two concepts have been investigated rather independently
of each other is surprising. The importance of and rationale for combining two scientific
knowledge bases of cultural competence and research about expertise in mental health counseling
are the focus of this article. The case for a more deliberate juxtaposing of the two research areas of
cultural competence and expertise in mental health counseling is made by highlighting the interrelatedness
of cultural competence and master therapist research, the diversity of mental health consumers,
the requirements of ethical practice, and the need to reduce bias in how mental health
research is conducted.
7. The Cycle of Caring: A Model of Expertise in the Helping Professions (Pages 82-93)
Thomas M. Skovholt
The core of the helping professions, including counseling, is a relational process, a one-way helping
relationship that serves as an incubator for the client’s development. In counselor practice, the
one-way helping relationship occurs again and again with client after client. The Cycle of Caring—
of Empathetic Attachment, Active Involvement, and Felt Separation—describes the continual relational
process that summarizes the work of the counselor. Doing the Cycle of Caring proficiently,
over and over and over again with each and every client, constitutes a model of expertise.