Dimensions of psychosocial cure and support

Over the past few decades there has been a shift away from discrete categories to more dimensional ways of thinking about identity, experiences, beliefs, feelings, and activities. The Kinsey scale for sexual orientation, various political compasses, dimensional approaches to mental health difficulties and neurodiversity are some examples. So the idea is that you are neither straight nor gay, left or right, healthy or ill. There are dimensions and features which cut across the categories and vary in intensity. Psychological therapies are often discussed in terms of categories, e.g., CBT versus psychodynamic versus ACT. It has been recognised that there is much overlap in techniques used across the various brands, and taxonomies have been developed to try to dismantle brands. However, an enduring categorical distinction is between professional and non-professional. I’m curious to know what happens if you blur the distinctions further and think instead in terms of how people converse with each other, listen, empathise, and offer practical help. The professional dimension is orthogonal to the various ways of helping, focussed more on how reliable and accountable someone is.

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