Towards a methodology of psychological practice: The regulative cycle

P.J. van Strien

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This article addresses the methodology of professional practice. As a counterpart to the 'predictive cycle' of generalizing or nomological science, a regulative cycle is proposed, which is directed towards the improvement of individual problem-situations with the help of low-level, problem-directed theories and is guided by norms and criteria of health, productivity, quality of life, and so on. Objections based on established empirical-analytical methodology are examined and it is shown that explicitly following the regulative model can contribute to a methodological 'disciplining' of practice without necessarily falling into a technocratic relationship with clients. Finally the role of 'paradigms of practice' is discussed, first at the level of professional practice, and then at the level of the paradigmatic problem-solving repertoires of our increasingly 'scientized' society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-700
Number of pages18
JournalTheory & Psychology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct-1997


  • hermeneutics
  • nomological theory
  • professional practice
  • regulation
  • values

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