SELF-CONFRONTATION AND PSYCHOTHERAPY: A REPLY TO SANBORN, PYKE AND SANBORN

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Abstract

In a recent review of the literature on the effects of videotape playback in psychotherapy.Sanborn. Pyke and Sanborn (1975) made an unqualified endorsement of such procedures. However, a number of the studies they reviewed were irrelevant for such considerations. The controlled studies that they did examine do not substantiate their conclusion. A number of laboratory studies of self-confrontation are reviewed which lead to the expectation that reactions to feedback of the self are a function of personality structure and type of psychopathology and that, at times. self-confrontation will be detrimental to the well-being of patients. Indeed. a review of four controlled studies which were not discussed by Sanborn, et al. indicates that in three of the four investigations harmful effects of self-confrontation were observed. The severity of these harmful consequences ranged from decreases in self-esteem to intense depression and suicide. It is recommended that the utmost caution be exercised in decisions concerning the use of self-confrontation techniques in psychotherapy.

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