Whatever else it may be, psychotherapy offers a clear form of human com- passion channeled through myriad assumptions about the causes and solu- tions of human distress. There has, of course, been a longstanding debate about whether the psychotherapist is best described (and trained) as an artisan or a scientist. Volumes of scholarly argument have also addressed such themes as the essential ingredients of psychotherapy, the role of tech- nique, the importance of client characteristics, and the significance of the therapist's personality. Experts have defended a wide range of opinions on these issues and have mustered evidence to support their individual claims. The purpose of the present volume is neither to defend r to expand any specific claim about psychotherapy. Rather, it is intended to be a heuristic compendium of contemporary views on this humane endeavor. At the most basic level of analysis, the field of psychotherapy research w faces three fundamental questions: 1. Is psychotherapy effective? 2. When and why is it effective? 3. How should psychotherapists be trained? The latter two questions obviously presume that the first can be answered affirmatively. Although I would hardly defend the generalization that all forms of psychotherapy are effective for all clients, it is equally clear that there is w ample warrant for the contention that some of the things we do in our fifty-minute hours seem to have positive effects.