Chiropractic professionalization and accreditation: an exploration of the history of conflict between worldviews through the lens of developmental structuralism

J Chiropr Humanit. 2014 Nov 7;21(1):25-48. doi: 10.1016/j.echu.2014.10.001. eCollection 2014 Dec.


Objective: The purpose of this commentary is to describe the conflicts in the history of chiropractic's professionalization and conflict through the path of increasing educational standards and accreditation using the lens of developmental structuralism.

Discussion: Within the story of chiropractic's professionalization and accreditation lie the battles between competing worldviews. Gibbons proposed 4 periods of chiropractic's educational history; this article proposes a fifth period along with a new methodological approach to explore the complexity of chiropractic's history. The methodology draws upon constructive developmental psychology and proposes 5 levels of thinking common to the individuals from chiropractic's history. By using a psychological framework to analyze historical events, it appears that the battle within chiropractic education continues at present. Several important issues are explored: the Council on Chiropractic Education's origins in the medical paradigm and rational thinking, the pre-rational, rational, and post-rational critics of the Council on Chiropractic Education, the schools of thought that were reified or emerged from the history, as well as the more recent legal, economic, and social pressures, which helped to shape chiropractic's accreditation and professionalization.

Conclusion: A transrational approach, one that includes the partial truths of all perspectives, is a first step to allow for a richer understanding of how the interior worldviews, individual actions, and the exterior forces (legal, economic, political, and educational) brought forth the chiropractic clashes together. Viewing the conflicts within chiropractic from this approach may foster new educational structures to evolve.

Keywords: Chiropractic; History.