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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Bradley R. Cutler, MD (Edward Hospital and Health Services)
Description: One of many books in the Core Competencies in Psychotherapy series, this is a revision of a 2004 publication, Introduction to Supportive Psychotherapy.
Purpose: In 2007, the Residency Review Committee for Psychiatry mandated that all psychiatry residents become competent in three areas of psychotherapy: supportive, psychodynamic, and cognitive- behavioral. The purpose of this book is to teach beginning therapists the fundamentals of supportive psychotherapy.
Audience: While the book is targeted primarily at psychiatry residents beginning their training in psychotherapy, it is also written for beginning therapists interested in supportive psychotherapy.
Features: Throughout the nine chapters, four basic principles are emphasized: maintaining a positive therapeutic alliance, understanding and formulating patients' problems, setting realistic treatment goals, and knowing what to say to patients. The authors clearly define the concept of supportive psychotherapy and present its key features. They then describe supportive psychotherapeutic interventions and steps for performing proper patient evaluations, and discuss the therapeutic relationship and crisis intervention. The final chapter describes how to determine whether a resident has achieved competence in supportive psychotherapy. Figures, case illustrations, and vignettes help bring the text to life. What's more, this book is accompanied by a DVD which includes six vignettes demonstrating the fundamental tenets of supportive psychotherapy; these vignettes are also detailed in the book. Many of the chapters have been revised since the earlier publication.
Assessment: As the authors make clear, supportive psychotherapy is a technique which requires years of intensive training and experience. This book is meant to provide the foundation for such training and experience. With psychiatry residents required to achieve competency in supportive psychotherapy, a book that provides a clear and concise introduction to supportive psychotherapy is essential. This is that book.