Psychotheoretically Equipped… Now What?

By Jonathon Sumpter — Pick a Theory… Any theory… and Psychologize:

Psychoanalytic, Analytical Psychology, Psychodynamic, Existential, Rational Emotive Behavioral, Behaviorism, Cognitive, Cognitive Behavioral, Gestalt, Humanistic, Interpersonal, Systems, Reality, Transactional Analysis, Experiential, Exposure, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, Gender Specific, Multicultural, Mindfulness, Spiritually-Religiously Influenced, Integrative/Eclectic, Biopsychosocial (to name a few “American” valued perspectives on human development, health, psychopathology, and relationship), individual, couples, families, deterministic, constructivist, emotional, insight-oriented, action-based, relational, evidence based…

As I sit with another human being, witness to their struggle and challenge, the concept of prescribing best theoretical practices seems the furthest thing from my mind. As far as I can fathom, theory implies assumption. Assumption that the world operates from the locus of logic ascribed to any one specific perspective. Much-less, applying a theoretical assumption to another individual, assumes this individual operates on the same logical/emotional foundation as my own.

Spiritual writer, Henri Nouwen, boldly states: what is most personal is also the most universal (With Open Hands, 2006, p. 14).

At some level we are all infinitely unique and wholly different… yet, at the same time, inestimably familiar and intimately share this human experience.

Finding a balance of understanding my own locus of logic of individual theoretical factors associated with development, health, psychopathology, and relationship, without operating from assumption of others, may prove to be a life-long undertaking.

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