OUR APPROACH TO
WE HAVE CHOSEN to study time-limited psychodynamic psychotherapy for individuals who exhibit a stress response syndrome. This decision was made because a recent important life event can provide an appropriate focus for brief treatment. The objective is to help patients to master their responses to the threat, injury, or loss involved in the event. A stress response syndrome involves not only reactions to the event itself but some degree of predisposing personality characteristics or underlying conflicts. Thus, the therapeutic process associated with the established focus necessarily relates to long-standing as well as recent issues.
We began our work by detailing the phases of response to serious life events, typical symptoms of stress response syndromes, and methods for systematically evaluating a patient's condition both before and after therapy. We developed further existing dynamic techniques for treating stress response syndromes (Horowitz 1973, 1976). We were able to examine the effect on the therapeutic process of various preexisting personality styles.