Description: This step-by-step guide to psychodynamic psychotherapy explores assessment and the treatment process, including technique, establishing therapeutic goals, understanding the working through process, and termination. The first edition was published in 2011.
Purpose: The purpose is to teach psychodynamic psychotherapy "using three key steps listening, reflecting, and intervening. These are applied to all aspects of treatment, and supported by core psychotherapeutic concepts such as evaluation, empathic listening, and setting the frame."
Audience: The intended audience is teachers and program directors in training programs, but it also will be useful for anyone who wants to learn more about psychodynamic psychotherapy. All four authors are on the faculty of Columbia University.
Features: An introduction to psychodynamic psychotherapy notes that it "offers people a chance to create new ways of thinking and behaving in order to improve the quality of their lives." The basic tenets of psychodynamic psychotherapy are the unconscious, uncovering and supporting, and the therapeutic relationship. The book notes how therapists must create a safe environment in an empathic, nonjudgmental manner and establish boundaries in terms of therapist responsibilities, session time/setting, and limits of confidentiality. It is important that a therapy session has a beginning, middle, and end. The book discusses the techniques used for conducting psychodynamic psychotherapy, such as free association, and notes that transference feelings help discover important relationships in a patient's life and countertransference helps therapists to diagnose and treat patients. The major goals of psychodynamic psychotherapy are to improve self-esteem, relationships with others, ways of coping, and cognitive function. The book contains three appendixes: a guide for educators, a template for assessment, and a postevaluation resource to be used with patients. There is also a list of recommended readings for each chapter. The book is easy to read and contains helpful information in shaded boxes including key concepts and suggested activities regarding questions about clinical material. There is a companion website as well.
Assessment: This is an excellent a step-by-step approach to learning psychodynamic psychotherapy. It is very practical, with wonderful clinical examples. Trainees and seasoned clinicians can learn from this book. The second edition is updated with the latest research and adds new exercises.