Yalom on the “process” focus

“The psychotherapist’s single most valuable practical tool is the “process” focus. Think of process as opposed to content. In a conversation, the content consists of the actual words uttered, the substantive issues discussed; the process, however, is how the content is expressed and especially what this mode of expression reveals about the relationship between the participating individuals.”

Irvin D. Yalom

Source: Yalom, Irvin D. (2012-06-05). Love’s Executioner (p. 115). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition.

To claim that process-focused therapy is “the [italics mine] psychotherapist’s single most valuable tool” seems a little too absolute for me. How is Yalom so certain that process-focused therapy outshines all other forms of therapy? I have to wonder, should content––in any way at all––direct the focus of the therapeutic encounter? Don’t get me wrong, I think Irving Yalom is “the man” when it comes doing therapy. I just think the unfolding of the therapy session itself, not the therapist (his or her ego), should determine therapeutic focus, and such a determination might not ought to be so black or white. Maybe therapists should keep both approaches, as well as others, equally available during their counseling sessions. What I fear most regarding any therapeutic approach is the therapist’s own rigidity where style is concerned. Such rigidity is often a trait of a fragile ego. Considering psychotherapy as a whole, I firmly believe that no one way or approach is the most valuable. Just maybe both content and process should be considered together, depending on context.

Context is everything, right?

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