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From The CriticsReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D.(Cermak Health Services)
Description: This book describes the stages of psychodynamic therapy, with an emphasis on evidence-based practice, combining research with the latest clinical ideas. Written by a psychiatrist and a psychologist, it provides a healthy balance between the two disciplines.
Purpose: According to the authors, "in this book we describe a contemporary psychodynamic therapy model that we believe is practical, effective, and easily integrated with other treatment modalities, such as family and systems interventions and psychopharmacology," adding, "Our emphasis is on a new pragmatic technique, rather than a new theory.
Audience: Intended for mental health practitioners and students of all kinds, the authors note it is appropriate for graduate-level courses in psychology, psychiatry, counseling, and social work. Both authors are from University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where Richard Summers, MD, is clinical associate professor and Jacques Barber, PhD, is professor of psychology.
Features: The book begins with an introduction to pragmatic psychodynamic psychotherapy, which is defined as "based on a developmental and conflict model of mental life and involves a clearly defined psychodynamic diagnosis and formulation, a focus on education and transparency, integration with other synergistic treatment modalities, and an active, engaged therapeutic stance. It differs from classical psychodynamic psychotherapy, which has tended to be open ended, hierarchical, not diagnosis specific, inadequately integrated conceptually and technically with psychopharmacology and other concurrent treatments, less active and less focused." Next, the book describes the three basic phases of treatment: opening, middle, and ending. The opening phase includes the therapeutic alliance, basic psychodynamic problems, and setting goals. The discussion of the middle phase explores how change occurs as well as attachment and engagement in therapy. The ending phase includes termination and its meaning for both patient and therapist. Numerous tables help clarify the text and helpful case vignettes show how the theory is applied. The book is easy to read and practical, walking readers through the therapeutic process, which makes it perfect for novice clinicians.
Assessment: This is an excellent and practical book that details the phases of psychotherapy and includes wonderfully instructive clinical examples. It addresses common problems such as depression, low self-esteem, and anxiety. The authors have not created a new theory, but have packaged psychodynamic therapy in a way that new and seasoned therapists will appreciate.