We can pick up a spoon accurately in an instant without thinking. It just happens. It could take a lifetime to write an algorithm for this and yet we just do it.

Therapy and healing are more complex. No description can fully convey what is happening. Attempts to formulate, brand and commercialise therapies is like trying to patent, bottle and sell the wind.

Generally theories of therapy and personality repackage cultural assumptions around a few concepts. Convincing stories that accommodate the conventions of the day. They usually wind up being applied beyond the workable limits of their original assumptions and let us lose sight of the complexities of the real world in a maze of over-generalised concepts.

Psychological theories can obscure more than they reveal. Some are interesting and even informative but generally as much a hindrance as a help. In practice each person and each situation requires its own theory and methodology.

therapy frameworks
Therapists use the language and logic of theoretical frameworks to arrange their thoughts and their repertoire of responses. Even if they seem like dogma, hype and window dressing and the methods seem like religious liturgy they do provide legitimacy, a vocabulary, and an excuse to be together. We have to start somewhere.

commanding the sun to rise and the sun to set
Complex and expensive therapies take the credit for inbuilt mechanisms of self-healing that are inevitable workings of nature.

Therapies are effective more because of our biology and culture than their theoretical foundations. Their most powerful components are the knowledge and strategies contained in our shared biology, language and culture used routinely day to day – mostly unawares.

In practice every therapy is local. Even if it imports a name or a theory it depends on a local culture, a neighbourhood, a room and a relationship between the particular people working together in a session.

A therapy depends on our abilities to understand ourselves and others inherited from family and community. We draw on millennia of knowledge embedded in our culture and millions of years of evolution hard wired into our species. Each of us develops these into more a sophisticated understanding than the most elaborate theory.

in practice
One's own discoveries are easier to understand and implement than second or third hand formulas.

Therapies exist more in their practice and practitioners than in the words that describe them. I have learnt more from being with other practitioners than studying their methods or theoretical frameworks.

Protocols can be dis-empowering especially if they are out of touch with the realities of the consulting room. Even skilled therapists can get sidetracked by them.. Although they can be useful guides they can be irrelevant and time consuming if followed blindly.

Theories and religions come and go. Ultimately we are the only ones who can can have our thoughts and feelings and do what we do. A theory can't do it for us.

Rituals, protocols, gurus and experts provide authority, reassurance and directions but in the end the work comes from oneself. We have to choose them and how to interpret them.

Whatever a therapist's values or school of thought, whoever their teacher or guru, eventually they have to evaluate what they have been told for themselves, work out what is going on and make decisions about it all.

The mistakes, doubts, satisfaction, achievement and all the rest are our own. There is no escaping personal responsibility.

There are useful ideas in most theoretical frameworks and its easy to imagine someone bringing them to life. Any method can be made to work.

Human nature usually wins through and we connect and communicate whatever the distractions of the framework.

Personality theories are fascinating. People have diverse strategies to deal with their experiences and navigate their worlds.

I collect theories and methods to see if they work. If they are promising I look for ways to allow similar transactions to evolve in my sessions.

Maybe it's a bit early for a theory of personality. Perhaps we don't know enough yet. Or perhaps it's too late. Perhaps our thinking is too cluttered and the words exhausted though overuse.

Person Centered Therapy
Person Centered Therapy has little in the way of theories or models. There are a few simple principles that I have elaborated here so you can try them - simple in principle but infinitely complex in practice.

A measure of the success of this approach today is that It is still widely used even though it does not lend itself to being formulated, packaged, commercialised or legislated. Its success relies on each person.