Paradigms, promises, and the potential of clinical psychology


  • Timothy J. Strauman

    Corresponding author
    1. Duke University
    • Department of Psychology, Social and Health Sciences, Duke University, Box 90085, 9 Flowers Drive, Durham, NC, 27708; email:
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Both Plaud's and Ilardi and Feldman's articles call for clinical psychology to redefine itself according to a particular paradigm or “unifying framework.” This commentary focuses on the nature of clinical psychology as an applied discipline, whether clinical psychology in fact has an urgent need for a unifying framework, and whether radical behaviorism or cognitive neuroscience could provide such a framework. It is concluded that, as an applied field that draws both theory and method from a number of natural and social sciences, clinical psychology is served best by continued development and appropriation of competing scientific viewpoints rather than by fealty to a single perspective or paradigm. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Clin Psychol 57: 1125–1132, 2001.