Supportive Psychotherapy: Much More Than a Primer

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1998, Vol 43(11), 791-792. Review of book: “A primer of supportive psychotherapy,” by Henry Pinsker (see record 1998-07023-000). Finally, an experienced clinician has spoken for those of us who see supportive therapy not as the unwanted stepchild of the psychoanalytic tradition but as the most effective and valuable way of working with the huge number of clients who either do not need or cannot tolerate more intensive, uncovering work. Henry Pinsker has provided a passionate, well reasoned, lively argument for the dignity of this kind of therapy and of the patients who respond to it. Pinsker's book is well organized. Technical recommendations are made with a view to their usefulness in supporting self esteem, strengthening ego functions, and increasing adaptive skills. Emphasis is consistently and accurately on what is useful to the beginner. Despite this focus on the trainee, I found myself learning a great deal from Pinsker's vignettes and commentaries. I therefore recommend this book not only to novice therapists but to my most experienced colleagues. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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