Therapeutic Communication: Knowing What to Say When / Edition 1

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Overview

For every therapist who has ever thought, "I understand my patient, but what should I say at this moment?," this book will provide practical, enlightening assistance. A trained psychoanalyst known for his integration of active methods from other orientations, Paul L. Wachtel examines in great detail precisely what the therapist can say to contribute to the process of healing and change. The reader is shown - through numerous examples, including annotated transcripts of actual therapy sessions - why some communications are particularly effective, while others, though addressing essentially the same content, actually promote the problems being treated. A uniquely practical book, Therapeutic Communication also offers the reader an exploration of theory that integrates psychodynamic principles with insights and discoveries from other approaches. Opening chapters probe how vicious circles perpetuate the patient's difficulties and how intrapsychic conflict and interpersonal realities mutually create each other. Later chapters explore communication strategies that will help resolve these difficulties. Dr. Wachtel illuminates the evaluative nature of seemingly "neutral" comments, and demonstrates how the therapist can generate communications that foster the patient's progress. Other chapters highlight how to build on the patient's strengths; how to promote and amplify change processes and help the patient "own" his insights through what Dr. Wachtel calls "attributional interpretations"; and how to utilize the art of gentle inquiry, phrasing questions in ways that protect the patient's self-esteem and mobilize his capacity to change. Rounding out the work is a comprehensive chapter on the process of "working through," and a concluding chapter by Ellen Wachtel insightfully extending the book's ideas to work with couples. Jargon-free prose and respect for multiple psychotherapeutic perspectives make this book valuable not only to psychodynamically oriented therapists, but

This book contains no illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Wachtel, whose contributions have been at the cutting edge of contemporary approaches to psychotherapy, masterfully deals with the clinically delicate task of verbally presenting reality to patients. Wachtel astutely observes that in saying the unsaid, therapists often walk the fine line between clarification and accusation. Richly illustrated with clinical examples, Therapeutic Communication provides therapists with invaluable guiding principles that can enhance their clinical effectiveness." --Marvin R. Goldfried, PhD, State University of New York at Stony Brook

"Forget that speed reading course you took--this is a book that will absorb you so deeply you'll want to savor every paragraph, every sentence. Paul Wachtel has already given us some of the most creative books on psychotherapy, but Therapeutic Communication stands apart as a genuine masterpiece of clinical and scholarly wisdom. This is undoubtedly one of the most important books on psychotherapy in the last two decades. For the novice, it will orient and clarify therapeutic essentials, and for the seasoned clinician, it will reinvigorate and expand horizons. There is nothing else like it." --Alan Gurman, PhD, University of Wisconsin Medical School

"Paul Wachtel has been one of the most thoughtful and provocative writers on psychodynamic psychotherapy in recent years. He has made major contributions in the application of complex psychoanalytic ideas to the broader range of psychotherapies, and conversely has made important contributions to the rethinking and modernization of traditional psychoanalytic concepts. In this volume, he extends his model of cyclical psychodynamics to the important and largely unexplored area of the metacommunicational dimensions of the therapist's participation." --Stephen Mitchell, PhD, Editor, Psychoanalytic Dialogues

Tamara Goldman Sher
This book notes the importance of therapist communication within the therapy context and makes recommendations for optimal therapeutic interventions. The purpose of the book is to demonstrate how best to convey understanding of a patient to that patient for maximal therapeutic benefit, an often overlooked but extremely important issue in the therapeutic process. The author also presents his theory of psychological disorder and change called "cyclical psychodynamics.' The book went to great lengths in meeting this objective and pointing out the importance of all language in the therapy process. The book is written primarily for clinical psychologists. In addition, graduate students will also benefit from reading the book. The book is written at an appropriate level for this primary audience but will appeal more to students of psychoanalytic theory than students with other orientations. The author is well-known in his field and has lectured extensively on his theories. He is a credible authority in the subject matter. The book contains no illustrations, figures, or tables. It deviates from a straight prose style only in the later chapters when therapy transcripts are introduced. The book may lose some audience because little mention is made of other work, especially in the cognitive behavioral area where there is considerable overlap with the issues presented. A big advantage of this book is its easy-to-read language. The book covers an important topic in a very attractive writing style. It is a subject that the author has spent a great amount of time researching. I had two overall problems with the book, though. First, the author displays a bias toward the psychoanalytic literature.Second, I would have liked to see more research cited and discussed. Perhaps the author made a decision to focus only on the clinical applications of his theory but research on related topics would have made his points that much stronger.
From The Critics
Reviewer:Tamara Goldman Sher, PhD(Rush Medical College of Rush University)
Description:This book notes the importance of therapist communication within the therapy context and makes recommendations for optimal therapeutic interventions.
Purpose:The purpose of the book is to demonstrate how best to convey understanding of a patient to that patient for maximal therapeutic benefit, an often overlooked but extremely important issue in the therapeutic process. The author also presents his theory of psychological disorder and change called "cyclical psychodynamics.' The book went to great lengths in meeting this objective and pointing out the importance of all language in the therapy process.
Audience:The book is written primarily for clinical psychologists. In addition, graduate students will also benefit from reading the book. The book is written at an appropriate level for this primary audience but will appeal more to students of psychoanalytic theory than students with other orientations. The author is well-known in his field and has lectured extensively on his theories. He is a credible authority in the subject matter.
Features:The book contains no illustrations, figures, or tables. It deviates from a straight prose style only in the later chapters when therapy transcripts are introduced. The book may lose some audience because little mention is made of other work, especially in the cognitive behavioral area where there is considerable overlap with the issues presented. A big advantage of this book is its easy-to-read language.
Assessment:The book covers an important topic in a very attractive writingstyle. It is a subject that the author has spent a great amount of time researching. I had two overall problems with the book, though. First, the author displays a bias toward the psychoanalytic literature. Second, I would have liked to see more research cited and discussed. Perhaps the author made a decision to focus only on the clinical applications of his theory but research on related topics would have made his points that much stronger.
Booknews
Dr. Wachtel explores the largely unmapped territory of what the therapist says in the therapeutic setting, demonstrating a use of language that shows understanding, avoids inducing resistance, and yet does not sidestep the confrontation of painful realities. Extensive annotated transcripts of therapy sessions give insights into the principles discussed. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

3 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572304161
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/10/1998
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 308
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Paul L. Wachtel, PhD, is CUNY Distinguished Professor at City College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His publications include Family Dynamics in Individual Psychotherapy (with Ellen F. Wachtel).
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Table of Contents


1. The Talking Cure
2. Cyclical Psychodynamics I: Vicious Circles
3. Cyclical Psychodynamics II: The Centrality of Anxiety
4. Cyclical Psychodynamics III: Insight, the Therapeutic Relationship, and the World Outside
5. Accusatory and Facilitative Comments: Criticism and Permission in the Therapeutic Dialogue
6. Exploration, Not Interrogation
7. Building on the Patient's Strengths
8. Affirmation and Change
9. Attribution and Suggestion
10. Reframing, Relabeling, and Paradox
11. Therapist Self-Disclosure: Prospects and Pitfalls
12. Achieving Resolution of the Patient's Difficulties: Resistance, Working Through, and Following Through
13. Postscript: Therapeutic Communication with Couples, Ellen F. Wachtel
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