Even though therapists may consider themselves “eclectic” in orientation, research indicates that these therapists espouse at least one basic theoretical orientation, which informs their understanding of personality, psychopathology, and the therapeutic process (Binder, 2004). Therapists need a conscious “conceptual map” of the immediate therapeutic situation that sharpens and guides their thoughts and actions about a specific case in terms of five key therapeutic tasks:

• Therapeutic Relationship • Assessment • Intervention Planning and Case Conceptualization • Intervention Focus, Strategy, and Implementation • Intervention Evaluation and Termination

This chapter describes five basic theoretical approaches and their underlying “conceptual maps.” These five basic approaches are cognitive-behavioral, dynamic, experiential, relational-systemic, and integrative. For each approach five key therapeutic tasks are briefly noted. Table 1.1 summarizes the very brief discussion of each of these approaches specifically in terms of the tasks of therapeutic focus, therapeutic goals, therapeutic strategy, and interventions.