Student Services Overview

DATE: Thursday, August 16, 2012
TIME: 12:00 p.m.
PLACE: Studio, Lambert Road campus
CANDIDATE: Tahlia H Rainbolt
DISSERTATION TITLE: "Radical Regard: An Exploration of the Significance of the Therapist’s Loving Feelings in Psychotherapy "
CHAIR: Dr. Christine Peterson
READER: Dr. Christine Lewis
EXTERNAL READER: Dr. Valeria Frankfeldt

Rainbolt,T. (2012). Radical Regard: An Exploration of the Significance of the Therapist’s Loving Feelings in Psychotherapy (Doctoral dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2012)


This study springs from an ethical sphere and begins simply, with good intentions and a sensible and caring attitude; hence, it is not value neutral. This capacity for concern forms a foundation for the research. Radical regard orients to what is needed rather than to a prescribed theoretical response and, as ethics precedes epistemology, this orientation likewise emphasizes that the presence of loving feelings in the clinical setting is mutually beneficial and productive regardless of which theoretical or psychodynamic models are endorsed.

Loving as it is defined herein embodies a commitment to particular values and is therefore proactive rather than reactive, enlivened by generosity rather than desire and aroused by compassion rather than appetite. Radical regard amplifies a determined commitment to the well-being of self and other; it is neither egoistic (purely self-interested) nor masochistic (e.g. ignoring, harming, or otherwise depriving oneself). Vibrant clinical relationships are essential; they are also consequentially shaped by the interaction between our values, intentions, and unexamined assumptions.

Two necessary constituents of radical regard are identified and examined: a loving ethic, which utilizes deep thinking, or logic, in the service of cultivating right feelings; and seeing feelingly, which utilizes intuitive feeling sensibilities in the service of cultivating right action. In addition, this study aims to make it more difficult to avoid, deny, or otherwise minimize the need for loving feelings; the long-standing taboo on tenderness is therefore explicated and carefully considered.

More study on numerous fronts is warranted and in some cases is already underway. The Greater Good Science Center announced earlier this year a $5.9 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation to study the science and practice of gratitude. Whether from the domain of neuroscience, philosophy or (clinical, social, or research) psychology, clinical psychology will benefit from increasingly extensive, penetrating, and bold research into the practicality, efficaciousness, and health of loving feelings in psychotherapy.


Please note: All oral defense attendees must shuttle from the Best Western Hotel in Carpinteria.