This case describes the treatment of Maggie*, a first-year college student dealing with depression, trauma, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. It illustrates a conceptualization and practice that takes place within a guiding conception positioned in the “unification pathway” to psychotherapy integration. Specifically, I have developed a foundational, meta-theoretical “big picture,” science-based “Unified Theory of Knowledge” (UTOK) that frames the work. It is a model of the evolution of energy, matter, mind, and culture within our universe’s history—that is, from the “big bang” to the multicultural, complex, human societies that dominate the earth today. Within the UTOK metapsychology (Henriques, 2022a), I have described where the discipline of psychology and the theory and practice of psychotherapy are positioned—allowing psychology and psychotherapy to be potentially grounded in a coherent naturalistic ontology that does not reduce to physicalism or overly rely on a natural science empirical epistemology.
UTOK shows how we can retranslate the standard biopsychosocial model into a model that defines the layers of existence in term of life (the realm of living organisms), mind (the realm of minded animals), and culture (the realm of human persons). It uses this new big picture framework to reframe and realign the key insights from the four major approaches to individual psychotherapy – behavioral, experiential/humanistic, psychodynamic, and cognitive—since each school of thought captures crucial aspects of human behavior and experience, both in its flourishing and its entrenchment in maladaptive patterns.
Because of the scope and complexity of UTOK, it is not possible to fully summarize it in the pages allotted to it in a PCSP case study. Rather, in the psychotherapy case study of Maggie below, the reader is offered a basic outline of UTOK’s overall structure to provide a sense of what it is all about, together with plentiful references to learn more details about UTOK (e.g., Henriques, 2011, 2022a). This outline is then followed by psychotherapy-specific concepts and a central therapeutic technique—CALM-MO—that logically follow from UTOK and were central in Maggie’s treatment, which is then presented in detail and discussed.
Key words: unification, integration, depression, suicide, treatment