Essential Psychotherapies: Theory and Practice

Essential Psychotherapies: Theory and Practice

Essential Psychotherapies: Theory and Practice

Essential Psychotherapies: Theory and Practice


Now in a revised and updated second edition, this widely adopted text presents systematic and extensive expositions of the 12 most important forms of psychotherapy being practiced today. Covering traditional treatments as well as influential models that have been developed relatively recently, the volume gives students and practitioners a solid grasp of foundational theories and methods. Eminent authorities describe their respective models in unusually coherent chapters to facilitate easy comparison of basic theoretical and practical concerns. Each chapter also includes a detailed case illustration that brings key concepts to life.

New in the Second Edition

• Thoroughly updated--empirical evidence now summarized for each approach

• Revised introductory chapter outlines today's major issues and controversies

• New chapters on postmodern and marital therapies

• Even more user-friendly, with additional case vignettes throughout

• Expanded coverage of diversity issues and of the therapeutic relationship

• Addresses contemporary training and health care delivery challenges


This book presents the core theoretical and applied aspects of essential psychotherapies in contemporary clinical practice. For us, “essential” approaches do not include those that appear to be generating momentary enthusiasm but are likely to soon vanish from the therapeutic scene. In our view, essential psychotherapies are those that form the conceptual and clinical bedrock of psychotherapeutic training, practice, and research. We believe there are two quite distinct categories of essential psychotherapies. First, there are those approaches whose origins are found in the earliest phases of the history of psychotherapy. Although the foundational and defining attributes of these methods have largely endured across several generations of psychotherapists, they have been revised and refined considerably over time. Examples of such time-honored approaches are traditional and relational approaches to psychoanalytic psychotherapy; existential–humanistic, person-centered, and experiential approaches; behavior therapy; and group therapy. Second, the essential psychotherapies presented here include several that have been developed relatively recently; have had undeniably strong effects on practice, training, and research; and are likely to endure long into the future. Examples are the cognitive, postmodern, brief, family, marital, and integrative approaches.


As intended in its first edition, Essential Psychotherapies has become a primary reference source for comprehensive presentations of the most prominent contemporary influences in the field of psychotherapy. Although there are literally hundreds of differently labeled “psychotherapies” (the great majority of which are really only partial methods, single techniques, or minor variations on existing techniques or approaches) (Bergin & Garfield, 1994), we continue to believe that those can be subsumed by about a dozen quite distinguishable types. As editors, we have challenged our contributing authors to convey not only what . . .

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