Taking the bull by the horns:  Beyond talk in psychological interventions


The purpose of this article is to argue that as long as the therapeutic community relies on commonly accepted sacred cows to produce results, little if any progress will take place. The five sacred cows of traditional psychological interventions (prevention, psychotherapy, and rehabilitation) are based on the following: (a) talk; (b) face-to-face contact; (c) the professionals’ proper style and personality; (d) adding family members, the more people the better; and (e) the more sessions the better. New psychological interventions that may challenge the sacred cows as we know them are as follows: (a) psychoeducational skill training programs; (b) computer assisted interventions, including verbal, visual (i.e., virtual reality), and neurobiofeedback; (c) manualized therapies; (d) eye movement desensitization and reprocessing; and (e) programmed distance writing, as exemplified by mental health workbooks. The latter is an inexpensive approach that can be administered concurrently with the new approaches as well as with talk-oriented interventions to obtain synergistic results. In addition, suggestions for minimally verbal and maximally action-oriented props and prescribed tasks are given.






Luciano L'Abate

Original Work Citation

L'Abate, L. (1999). Taking the bull by the horns: Beyond talk in psychological interventions. Family Journal, 7(3), 206-220. doi:10.1177/1066480799073002



“Taking the bull by the horns:  Beyond talk in psychological interventions,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed June 23, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/15416.

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