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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Brett C. Plyler, M.D.(Northwestern Memorial Hospital)
Description: This book evaluates the current state of research in psychodynamic psychotherapy and how evidence-based techniques can be applied to psychodynamic practice.
Purpose: The purpose is to demonstrate how research techniques can be applied to psychodynamic work and therefore validate the effectiveness of psychodynamic psychotherapy as a treatment modality.
Audience: The book is written for practitioners of psychodynamic psychotherapy, clinical researchers, and interested laypersons.
Features: The focus is on empirical research for psychodynamic psychotherapy. The authors begin with studies demonstrating the effectiveness of this treatment for a range of disorders (e.g. panic, eating disorders) and then review the process measures for this type of intervention. Next, they attempt to analyze how the therapeutic action of psychodynamic psychotherapy actually occurs and synthesize a coherent explanation for it. This is followed by a short discussion of neurobiology and how psychodynamic psychotherapy may effect its changes in the brain. Lastly, a series of letters by prominent clinician-researchers discuss a particular aspect of psychodynamic psychotherapy and research.
Assessment: This is an excellent addition to the psychodynamic field, and clinicians need to be aware of the importance of research. The authors point out the marginalization of psychodynamic psychotherapy because of the dearth of research supporting the technique (as compared to CBT, etc.) and the need to emphasize this in training and clinical practice. The discussions of how to evaluate psychodynamic psychotherapy are quite good, and the analysis of the process of therapeutic action is excellent. The discussion on neurobiology is lacking, but that may reflect the general lack of knowledge on this topic and need for more study. Psychodynamic psychotherapy will continue to lose relevance if there is not more systematic, evidence-based studies demonstrating its effectiveness as a treatment modality.