Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy: Theory and Technique

  • Publish Date: 1996-02-13
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Author: Patricia Coughlin Della Selva
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Traditional psychoanalytic thinking dictates that the only way to help most patients achieve significant insight resulting in lasting change is through a rigorous course of lengthy treatment involving anywhere from two to five sessions a week. Needless to say, the prospect of such a monumental therapeutic undertaking is repugnant to health insurers and clearly beyond the means of the majority of patients. As a consequence, the past two decades have witnessed a rise in popularity of several short-term psychotherapeutic approaches. Most well known among these is the intensive short-term dynamic approach first developed by Habib Davanloo in the late 1960s. A proven technique for accelerating and condensing the analytic process while remaining true to basic psychoanalytic principles, Davanloo's method has met with nothing less than miraculous results in case after reported case. Yet, until now, there has not been a clearly written, accessible guide devoted to schooling practitioners in the theory and practice of this revolutionary psychotherapeutic method.

Patricia Coughlin Della Selva's Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy shows therapists how to achieve even the most ambitious therapeutic goals, including character change, in as few as 40 sessions. Not a cookbook, but a systematic guide to intervention, it outlines proven techniques for accessing a patient's ego-functioning, dismantling defenses, intensifying a patient's affective involvement in the treatment, identifying the transference patterns as they arise, and unlocking the unconscious with a speed and degree of accuracy previously considered impossible.

The book opens with a chapter in which the author lays down the theoretical foundations of the method. She supplies a detailed review of the psychoanalytic theory of neurosis, provides operational definitions of dynamic concepts, and defines strategies for observing unconscious processes. The remainder of the book is devoted to clinical practice. Following a format roughly paralleling the psychotherapeutic process, it details the requirements of initial evaluation; describes techniques for working with defenses; explains the role of affect in creating and remediating psychopathology; describes techniques for intensifying affective experience and facilitating its expression; details methods of enhancing and completing the working-through process; and outlines procedures for the successful termination of and follow-up to the course of treatment.

A book whose time has come, Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy makes accessible to the psychotherapeutic community at large a treatment model that has been described as the most important development in psychotherapy since the discovery of the unconscious.

Of related interest . . .


selected papers of Habib Davanloo

These selected papers represent a valuable account of the development over several years of a powerful and innovative technique for overcoming resistance and confronting problems of the unconscious. Davanloo's Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy offers a body of theoretical, metapsychological, and technical knowledge which can be used with extraordinary precision to mobilize unconscious mental processes in order to achieve therapeutic results. The clinical material presented demonstrates how a single interview can provide an opportunity for both the therapist and the patient to view the multifoci core of the patient's neurotic structure, which is responsible for the patient's symptoms and character disturbances. 1995 (0-471-95611-2) 344 pp.


a guide to the psychotherapy of psychosis

David A. S. Garfield

Unbearable affect is seen as the focal point around which psychosis turns. When emotion becomes unbearable, some psychotic patients suffer from delusions, hallucinations, incoherence, negativism, autism, or emotional paralysis. In this remarkable book, Dr. David Garfield establishes paradigms for the diagnosis and psychotherapeutic treatment of psychotic disorders based on the location, understanding, and reordering of unbearable affect. He provides concrete clinical advice, vivid examples, and crisp, jargon-free descriptions of theoretical concepts and clinical techniques. 1995 (0-471-02536-4) 177 pp.