UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The skill of mental health Leder, Garson Titeff


Psychotherapy is effective. Since the 1970's, meta-analyses have consistently shown a significant effect size for psychotherapeutic interventions when compared to no treatment or placebo treatments. This effectiveness is normally taken as a sign of the scientific legitimization of clinical psychotherapy. A significant problem, however, is that most psychotherapies appear to be equally effective. This poses a problem for specific psychotherapies: they may work, but likely not for the reasons that ground their theoretical explanations for their effectiveness. This dissertation explains the common efficacy of psychotherapies by developing novel skill-based account of mental illness and healing. According to the view defended here, mental illness, and the success of mental healing, is best explained as an issue of the breakdown and development of skilled action. This skill view of mental health attempts to resolve a number of long-standing metaphysical questions about the roles of biological dysfunction, the environment, and values in the conception of mental disorder.

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