What are the three types of eclecticism? Discover your design style

If you’re unfamiliar with philosophy, the term eclecticism may seem a bit daunting at first. Essentially, it means combining different styles or theories to create something new. In philosophy, there are three main types of eclecticism that you should know about.
  • Technical Eclecticism: This form of eclecticism focuses primarily on techniques and methods that can be applied regardless of their theoretical origin. This means that a variety of different techniques might be employed, but they are chosen based on their practical application rather than any sort of overarching theory.
  • Theoretical Integration: As the name suggests, this form of eclecticism focuses on integrating different theoretical frameworks to create something new. This means drawing on a range of different perspectives and theories to create a more nuanced approach.
  • Common Elements Integration: Finally, there is common elements integration, which involves identifying shared features or elements between different theories and using those shared characteristics to create something new. This approach can be particularly useful when the different theories involved have significant differences.
  • Understanding these three types of eclecticism can help you better appreciate the ways in which different philosophical schools of thought can intersect and influence one another. Whether you’re a student of philosophy or simply interested in exploring different ways of thinking, eclecticism is a fascinating topic to explore. Understanding Eclecticism: The Three Types of Eclecticism

    Understanding Eclecticism in Theory and Practice

    As we continue to learn about different fields, we encounter theories and techniques that may or may not lead to a complete understanding of a topic. Eclecticism provides a way to combine different theories and techniques to obtain a more comprehensive perspective on a topic. In this article, we focus on the three types of eclecticism.

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    The Three Types of Eclecticism: An Overview

    The three types of eclecticism are technical eclecticism, theoretical integration, and common element eclecticism. Technical eclecticism selects techniques universally applicable, regardless of the theories they originate from. Theoretical integration combines techniques from various theories, and common element eclecticism identifies shared traits across different theories. In the following section, we take a closer look at each type of eclecticism.

    Technical Eclecticism: Choosing Techniques Regardless of Theory

    Technical eclecticism uses a ‘whatever works’ approach. This type of eclecticism is a popular choice among practitioners of psychotherapy, where the emphasis is on choosing techniques solely based on the client’s needs and the suitability of the method. Counselors or therapists who adopt technical eclecticism believe that there are universal techniques that are independent of theories and can be used in any situation. These techniques include relaxation training, goal setting, and social skills training, among others. Technical eclecticism is also common in art, photography, and other creative fields. In summary, technical eclecticism emphasizes technique over theory and aims to be flexible by choosing techniques that are universally applicable.

    Theoretical Integration: Combining Techniques from Different Theories

    Theoretical integration combines different theories. When practitioners adopt the theoretical integration approach, they aim to combine different theoretical frameworks in an integrative way. They do not focus on individual theories but rather on creating a new, comprehensive perspective by using multiple theories. For instance, in psychology, an integrative psychotherapist may use cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic therapy together to provide treatment that meets a client’s needs holistically. In summary, theoretical integration incorporates techniques from different theories to create a more comprehensive perspective.

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    Common Element Eclecticism: Identifying Shared Traits Across Theories

    Common element eclecticism identifies shared traits in different theories. This type of eclecticism holds that there are similar underlying principles among different theories, despite their apparent differences. Counselors who adopt the common element approach seek to identify the fundamental similarities among the theories, hence creating a superordinate principle or theory. For instance, in family therapy, counselors may use the common element approach to identify shared values like communication, empathy, and respect. These shared values are considered fundamental pillars upon which different families operate. In summary, common element eclecticism looks for similar underlying principles among different theories and uses them as a foundation for treatment.

    The Importance of Technical Diversity in Integrationism

    Technical diversity is key in achieving integrationism. Technical diversity refers to the idea that selecting techniques from different theories should be based on understanding the theoretical context. For instance, when a practitioner adopts a combination of intervention techniques, they must have a clear understanding of the theories underpinning these techniques. Identifying the techniques to use should not be based solely on personal preference but rather on understanding the theoretical context. Technical diversity plays a crucial role in achieving integrationism, as each technique is chosen based on its compatibility with the theory’s underlying principles.


    Understanding eclecticism is crucial in identifying the type of approach that would work best in different situations. Technical eclecticism, theoretical integration, and common element eclecticism are versatile approaches that can be used in different fields, from psychotherapy to art and music. It is essential to note that technical diversity should be a key consideration in selecting techniques across different theories. By doing so, one can achieve integrationism, which allows for a more comprehensive understanding of different fields.

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