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Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: A clinical manual 1st Edition

15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0470684719
ISBN-10: 0470684712
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Editorial Reviews


"This helpful book should serve as a primer for all psychiatric residents, as it provides a wonderful launching point for further reading into psychodynamically oriented therapies." (The Residents' Journal, a publication of The American Journal of Psychiatry, 2012)

"The second part of the book focuses on patient evaluation and assessment for psychodynamic psychotherapy. The highlight of this section is chapter 4, on the assessment of ego function. It is superb. In fewer than twenty pages, the authors explain ego strength, describe eleven basic ego functions (adapted from the work of Bellack and Goldsmith), define and give clear examples of each ego defense, and briefly discuss superego function. This chapter contains the clearest and most concise discussion of ego function (defenses) I have ever read." (Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, July 2012)

"Although the clear prose, well-organized format, and rich insights make this book a pleasure to read, it is the abundance of carefully annotated case examples on almost every page that differentiates this book from others like it. At a time when many psychiatry resident programs do not provide adequate training in psychodynamic psychotherapy, this book provides a much-needed corrective. Although it is meant as a book for initial learning, this is the kind of book that will remain on the reader's desk as a frequently thumbed companion and reference." (The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, May 2012)

"This splendid book by Deborah Cabaniss and her colleagues vividly and eloquently describes and explains expert psychotherapeutic technique, as well as demonstrating exemplary teaching skills......The authors are unusually gifted in constructing brief clinical exchanges that are informative, self-contained, and convincingly true to life. They have mastered the art of narrative—in their book in general, and especially in the vignettes... The quality of their writing is so superb that I will quote from it liberally. I believe many trainees will be inspired by the book to pursue further training in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis." (The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 2012)

"Throughout the book, one sees evidence that the authors “have been there, seen that, and done the right thing about it.” They have distilled their long experience into clear and readable prose; resorting minimally to jargon; they speak directly to the likely concerns of students. I recommend the book for its intended audience and for anyone interested in the art and science of psychodynamic psychotherapy."  (Psychoanalytic Psychology, December 2011)

"This book is appropriate for any behavioral health professional interested in learning psychodynamic psychotherapy, including psychiatrists, psychologists, and students of these disciplines. The authors are well entrenched in the East Coast psychodynamic culture and tradition." (Doody's, September 2011)


From the Back Cover

Psychodynamic psychotherapy offers people a chance to create new ways of thinking and behaving in order to improve the quality of their lives.

This book offers a practical, step-by-step guide to the technique of psychodynamic psychotherapy, with instruction on listening, reflecting, and intervening. It will systematically take the reader from evaluation to termination using straightforward language and carefully annotated examples. Written by experienced educators and based on a tried and tested syllabus, this book provides clinically relevant and accessible aspects of theories of treatment processes. The workbook style exercises in this book allow readers to practice what they learn in each section and more “actively” learn as they read the book.

This book will teach you:

  • About psychodynamic psychotherapy and some of the ways it is hypothesized to work
  • How to evaluate patients for psychodynamic psychotherapy, including assessment of ego function and defenses
  • The essentials for beginning the treatment, including fostering the therapeutic alliance, setting the frame, and setting goals
  • A systematic way for listening to patients, reflecting on what you've heard, and making choices about how and what to say
  • How to apply the Listen/Reflect/Intervene method to the essential elements of psychodynamic technique
  • How these techniques are used to address problems with self esteem, relationships with others, characteristic ways of adapting, and other ego functions
  • Ways in which technique shifts over time

This book presents complex concepts in a clear way that will be approachable for all readers. It is an invaluable guide for psychiatry residents, psychology students, and social work students, but also offers practicing clinicians in these areas a new way to think about psychodynamic psychotherapy. The practical approach and guided exercises make this an exceptional tool for psychotherapy educators teaching all levels of learners.

Praise for Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: A Clinical Manual

"This book has a more practical, hands-on, active learning approach than existing books on psychodynamic therapy."
Bob Bornstein, co-editor of Principles of Psychotherapy; Adelphi University, NY

"Well-written, concise and crystal clear for any clinician who wishes to understand and practice psychodynamic psychotherapy. Full of real-world clinical vignettes, jargon-free and useful in understanding how to assess, introduce and begin psychotherapy with a patient. Extraordinarily practical with numerous examples of how to listen to and talk with patients while retaining a sophistication about the complexity of the therapeutic interaction. My trainees have said that this book finally allowed them to understand what psychodynamic psychotherapy is all about!"
Debra Katz, Vice Chair for Education at the University of Kentucky and Director of Psychiatry Residency Training

"This volume offers a comprehensive learning guide for psychodynamic psychotherapy training."
Robert Glick, Professor, Columbia University


This book includes a companion website:

With the "Listening Exercise"  for Chapter 16 (Learning to Listen).  This is a short recording that will help the reader to learn about different ways we listen.

Cover painting by Nicki Averill


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 394 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (January 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470684712
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470684719
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Nan on March 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I am a third-year psychiatry resident. I have read a number of good psychodynamic psychotherapy books that were recommended by my program. I found myself quickly connected to this brand new book because of its uniqueness. It illustrates communications, emotions, and techniques that take place in real time in a treatment room. This book talks to me like a dynamic therapy supervisor. I particularly like Part 4 -Listen/Reflect/Intervene. It teaches me how to listen to a patient (Filtered listening and Focused listening), how to process the data and understand the material I hear from a patient (Reflect from surface to depth), and when and what to say to a patient (Intervention). I also found the techniques help me a great deal when interviewing difficult patients and working in the Emergency Room.
I strongly recommend this book to all trainees and students.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Graduate Student on April 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am currently a fourth-year doctoral student in clinical psychology. My supervisor recommended this book as a resource to use throughout my clinic training. Several other books on the topic have been recommended and none of them compare to this manual given its breadth and accessibility. It is an extremely practical book that provides invaluable clinical vignettes to guide you through the treatment process from the evaluation to termination. Exercises at the end of each chapter allow for a deeper test of your knowledge and give ample opportunity for the reader to practice the given techniques prior to doing so with their own patients. Given its straightforward nature and step-by-step approach, from a teacher's perspective, I believe this book would be very valuable for clinicians in training at all levels. Overall, this is a very positive review - I highly recommend this book to all students/trainees in psychodynamic psychotherapy.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By LARRY HESTER on May 18, 2011
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Richard Frank on September 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been teaching psychodynamic psychotherapy for 20 years to psychiatry residents and other trainees. This is far and away the best book I have ever used to teach this subject. Unlike other books, it actually teaches to the level of beginners in a practical, understandable, digestible way. It is "bottom up" rather than "top down," using concepts where they are applicable at a clinical level, rather than starting with and being overloaded with theory and history of the field. Clinical examples are brief, to the point, and greatly enhance the student's understanding. Organization is superb. Each chapter begins with a "boxed" summary of the most important concepts to be covered. The author(s) have clearly distilled years of experience teaching and feedback from trainees, and put a great deal of care and thought into the product. In the book's "treatment" of its readers (teachers and trainees), it exemplifies what it tries to teach about good psychotherapy: the importance of good listening, empathy, clear explanation, encouragement, a combination of support and exploration, and an open and humble attitude, free of presumption and arrogance. I would highly recommend this book without qualification to teachers an students of the subject. It is an invaluable contribution.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Cher on March 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An excellent introduction to psychodynamic psychotherapy. This text is well written and an easy read. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning about psychodynamic psychotherapy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By I Love Books on December 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a psychiatry program director, I was looking for a book that would explain psychodynamic psychotherapy to my beginning residents. I wanted one that would explain basic concepts clearly, give relevant examples, and teach them what to actually say to a patient. I did not want a book that was cluttered up with historical examples, lengthy case studies that illustrate only one point, too much explanation, endless discussions on one topic, esoterica, and boring monologues that only serve to showcase the author's command of the subject.
Gabbard's books are good, but they are too dense for beginning residents. This is what you read before you read Gabbard's books. This is also what you read before you try to do psychotherapy with a patient.
Residents panic before they have to do their first psychotherapy sessions. They want a book that they can open up, read a few chapters quickly, and know where to start. They want books that will not put them to sleep unless it is 11 pm and they actually want to go to sleep. After only reading a few chapters in this book, residents will know how to begin doing therapy, and what to say and do in the first two sessions before running to their supervisors and asking them what to do next.
This book is clear, interesting, readable, and sticks to the basic concepts and hands-on skills that residents need right away. After reading this book, residents are ready for the many reading adventures that await them as they continue their learning in psychotherapy.
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By Psych Counsellor on September 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fantastic and clear reference for those who use other theories, and want to finally understand the psychodynamic approach. This text clearly describes unconscious processes and psychodynamic therapy without the extreme and controversial aspects that the psychodynamic approach is known for. It avoids the sleepy aspects found in many similar books and informs practice no matter what your psych orientation is. CBT therapists will like it...
Any negative reviews are ridiculous...
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