Arnold Lazarus on Multimodal Therapy
by Arnold Lazarus
Arnold Lazarus’s drive to produce improved clinical outcomes is evident as he explains the rationale of using a wide variety of therapeutic techniques while maintaining a behavioral theoretical framework. This unique approach, called Multimodal Therapy, is characteristic of Lazarus’s personal style of open-mindedness and pragmatism.
Although Arnold Lazarus is well known for his work in behaviorism, having in fact coined the term “behavior therapy,” he reveals in this lively conversation with Dr. Terry Wilson that he was not impressed the first time he saw a demonstration of behaviorism. But when he heard that a friend of his was considering a prefrontal lobotomy for agoraphobia which psychodynamic therapy had failed to ameliorate, Lazarus recommended she at least give systematic desensitization with Dr. Joseph Wolpe a try. Wolpe’s methods prevailed, and Lazarus realized that there really was something to behaviorism that deserved a second look.

Throughout this interview, Lazarus’s vivid stories and sharp insights take the viewer down the path of his illustrious career, from his initial failure in graduate school to the development of Multimodal Therapy. Lazarus’s distinct clinical wisdom stems from his passion for clinical work in combination with his ethos of practicality. Eschewing the more dogmatic elements of behaviorism, Lazarus provides an inspiring example of how to balance theoretical clarity with clinical flexibility and open curiosity about the process of change. Reflecting on his popularity among clinicians, Lazarus surmises that, “They are interested in what I’m interested in, which is, how can we be more effective with our clients? Now we know from all our studies that a certain number of people will benefit regardless… …but that’s not good enough. You see, the relationship is necessary but often insufficient.”
In Depth
By watching this video, you will:
  • Be able to describe the basic tenets of Multimodal Therapy.
  • Appreciate the important differences between theory and technique.
  • Understand the career difficulties faced by early behavior therapists.
  • Understand the career difficulties faced by early behavior therapists.

Length of video: 00:26:27

English subtitles available

Group ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-416-9

Group ISBN-13 #: 978-1-60124-416-1

Arnold Lazarus, PhD is the originator of Multimodal Therapy. The author of 18 books and hundreds of scholarly publications and the recipient of numerous awards (including American Psychological Association's Distinguished Psychologist Award), Dr. Lazarus is internationally regarded as a psychotherapist, writer, teacher, and clinical innovator.

See all Arnold Lazarus videos.

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