In this paper, the author reviews the value of the taking up of a specific therapeutic school or base for practice in mental health nursing, such as cognitive behavioural therapy or client-centred therapy. This is examined against a background of increased interest in non-‘purist’ forms of therapeutic approach in the fields of psychotherapy and counselling. The common factors present in effective helping relationships are highlighted, along with a way of understanding the fundamental form of a given helping relationship which is perhaps independent of theoretical orientation. Thinking in this mode cuts across traditional ‘models of nursing/therapy’ speak. This may allow the mental health nurse to adopt appropriate client-need-driven interventions, which are not hamstrung by theoretical dogma. Given this, the paper suggests an ‘honourable position’ of eclecticism for mental health nurse education and practice.