Practice Of Supportive Psychotherapy by David S. Werman

By David S. Werman

First released in 1989. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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She was seen over the next three years and, although at times she was slightly more animated, she never showed anything approximating the degree of energy appropriate for a person of her age. Subsequent talks with members of her family revealed that she had been like that since she was 11 years old. Supportive psychotherapy was somewhat successful in sev- Evaluating the Patient for Therapy 29 eral ways: the patient had only one brief hospital stay during the three years; she held a full-time job, supporting herself and maintaining her own apartment; she stopped abusing hard drugs and alcohol; and her desperate promiscuity ceased.

Human beings regularly behave in ways that support and strengthen the inner mainsprings of that behavior. When they experience their lives with satisfaction, the dynamic interplay between external behavior and psyche enriches them. However, when the psychological set gives rise to painful, maladaptive behavior, creating a vicious circle of impulse and reinforcement, then it behooves the therapist to attempt to break the cycle. It is usually faster and easier to do so by effecting some change in the external behavior than by modifying the inner set.

If such a feeling does not exist, it should be the therapist's initial goal to establish such a conviction in the patient by his careful attention to meeting his appointments on time and with regularity, his rigorously nonjudgmental posture, his empathic attitude, his respect for the patient, and his own relative freedom from anxiety when he is with the patient. Such a conviction of being "held" is, of course illusory, since the therapist cannot, in reality, protect the patient from all of his potential destructiveness, and certainly not from the "slings and arrows" from the outside world.

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