Psychotherapy: science, craft or art?
Ever since the emergence of modern psychotherapy, there has been a dispute around its scientific status (see Cook et al., 2017; Chrząstowski, 2019; Eysenck, 1952; Lambert, 1992; Rakowska, 2005). Are the psychotherapeutic theory and practice based, or should they be based, on scientific data, just like medicine (see evidence-based medicine)? Or is psychotherapy rather a set of practical skills which can be practiced like craft? Perhaps the psychotherapist should only use their unique intuition and clinical experience while working with people and not subject themselves to the rigid criteria of scientific assessment, and psychotherapy is a form of art and each psychotherapist is an artist to an extent? Trying to answer the above questions, we need to attempt to combine two issues that are difficult to combine at first glance. On the one hand, you need to take into account the criterion of scientific viability from the perspective of philosophy of science (Brzeziński, 2019). On the other hand, the theory- and research-based object of psychotherapy needs to be taken into account, as well as its non-homogeneity, interdisciplinarity and peculiar entanglement into many different disciplines of science – from philosophy, through psychiatry, psychology, sociology, culture studies, down to neurobiology even (Kratochvil, 2003). Simply speaking, sciences can be divided into formal (e.g. mathematics and logic) and empirical sciences, which are classified into natural (e.g. physics and biology), humanistic and social (e.g. philosophy and psychology). In such a perspective, psychotherapy can be classified under empirical studies, but some of its modalities are closer to natural sciences (see the cognitive-behavioural modality) or humanistic and social sciences (e.g. the humanistic-existential modality). This peculiar methodological split – that is manoeuvring between the methodology of natural sciences (see behaviourism, neopositivism), the methodology of humanistic and social sciences (see mentalism and phenomenology) and the contemporary integrative and transtheoretical