Date of Award
Master of Science
Robert A. Neimeyer
Heidi M. Levitt
This research study explores the construct of clinical wisdom and the ways in which it is enacted by psychotherapists who are seen as wise by their peers. In previous research, clinical psychologists have outperformed other professionals in wisdom-related tasks, suggesting that there is an aspect of wisdom that might be imparted by clinical training and practice. There is, however, virtually no research specifically addressing the development and enactment of wisdom in psychotherapy practice. Seventeen psychologists who were nominated multiple times by their peers as being "wise" participated in an interview on their understanding of wisdom within psychotherapy practice and training. The qualitative methodology of grounded theory was used to analyze the data. Results indicate that clinical wisdom requires tolerating ambiguity in therapy, which is difficult in a psychotherapy culture that prizes ready-made answers. However, wise exploration facilitates the formation of a safe therapy relationship and directs the exploration of clients' vulnerabilities and ambiguities.
dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Bonin, Elizabeth Piazza, "Wisdom-Based Approaches to Psychotherapy: Challenging the Dominant Psychotherapy Culture" (2011). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 224.