Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. William A. Carlson

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert Betz

Third Advisor

Dr. H. Byron Earhart


Existing paradigms in psychology are almost exclusively founded upon the hypothetico-deductive scientific tradition. As a consequence, prevalent psychotherapy theories and techniques are also founded upon this tradition. In recent years the realization has been growing, even among its adherents, that the hypothetico-deductive method is not the only avenue to knowledge about the nature of existence. An alternate avenue is provided by the mystic tradition, as exemplified by Zen Buddhism, Hesychasm, Indian and Tibetan Yoga, Sufism, Christian mysticism, Hindu mysticism, Jewish mysticism, and Taoism. This study is an examination of the central beliefs of tao chia, or the Taoist school, and a review of the literature to assess the extent to which these beliefs have been considered as an alternative or an adjunct to the hypothetico-deductive scientific tradition in the development of psychotherapy theory and technique. The focus is on the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu, the core text of philosophical Taoism, which is examined for elements which are of application to working with clients in psychotherapy. Presented are ways in which the concepts of the Tao Te Ching can be synthesized with the concepts of existing psychotherapy systems to form an integrated psychotherapy system, and also ways in which the concept of the Tao Te Ching can be used to supplement the concepts of existing psychotherapy systems. The intent is to stimulate deliverers of mental health services to consider alternate worldviews, and thus alternate psychotherapy paradigms, and to expand their repertoire of techniques for working with clients.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Counseling Commons