Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: A Clinical Manual

By Wong, Oscar | East Asian Archives of Psychiatry, March 2012 | Go to article overview

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: A Clinical Manual


Wong, Oscar, East Asian Archives of Psychiatry


Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: a Clinical Manual

Authors: Deborah L. Cabaniss, Sabrina Cherry, Carolyn J. Douglas, Anna R. Schwartz

Wiley-Blackwell Publishing

USD 82.50;pp379; ISBN: 978-0470684719

When talking about psychodynamic psychotherapy, one could easily associate it with Freud and his theories on unconsciousness and ego. Yet to most young trainees in psychiatry, little is known about how this form of psychotherapy is conducted after decades of development. Do we still need a couch that the patient will be lying on, and to talk about whatever comes into his or her mind? Do we still attempt to interpret how one's Oedipal complex is unresolved? This clinical manual is a useful guide for psychotherapists or trainees in psychiatry who are interested in knowing how psychodynamic psychotherapy is conducted. Born as a syllabus for psychiatry residents in the New York State Psychiatric Institute, the primary aim of this book is not to delve deeply into the theoretical issues, which might be too complex to comprehend for beginners. Rather, it is set out as a blueprint for clinicians to use as a reference when they are beginning to practise this form of psychotherapy.

The book is divided into 7 parts. The authors first gave a brief and concise introduction to the principles and theories of psychodynamic psychotherapy, explaining how it is believed to work. It is then followed by how the therapist should choose and evaluate patients, in which different forms of ego functions and defences were taught, so that we could make formulations for individual patients and tailor-make the therapy. The third part goes back to more technical issues that are common to many forms of psychotherapy like setting boundaries, establishing a therapeutic alliance, logistic issues for the sessions, and so forth. Having discussed the basic concepts, part 4 focuses on the techniques of listening, reflecting and intervening in the course of psychodynamic psychotherapy. These could help the therapist assess the level of defence and ego function, so as to choose an appropriate intervention. With these techniques on hand, the manual then goes on to talk about their application into elements in psychodynamic psychotherapy such as resistance, transference, and dreams. Part 6 demonstrates how, by using all these skills on the different elements in the therapy, one could eventually bring about changes and target problems such as interpersonal difficulties, poor self-esteem, and weakened ego functions. The last part of the book focuses on specific issues related to the termination of therapy that a therapist should become familiar with. …

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