In psychiatry today eclecticism is encouraged by the wide range of therapeutic techniques available, the complex needs of patients, and the many political systems (family, school, job, etc.) in which they are enmeshed. Although it is possible to learn a variety of techniques during and after residency without an integrated theory of eclecticism the practitioner may have difficulty deciding when and how to use them. General systems theory has been suggested as a theoretical basis for eclectic psychiatry, but it has several shortcomings. The author concludes that until an adequate theoretical basis is formulated, eclectic choices must be characterized as "artistic" rather than scientific—a serious limitation in the development of practice.