THE NEXT STEP IN SHORT-TERM DYNAMIC PSYCHOTHERAPY: A CLARIFICATION OF OBJECTIVES AND TECHNIQUES IN AN ANXIETY-REGULATING MODEL

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Abstract

Although controversy and contradictions abound in the Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (STDP) research literature, the clear effectiveness noted in a few careful studies of STDP techniques warrants a closer look. Failure to make clear theoretical distinctions or to provide clear treatment guidelines in short-term therapies may have been among several major contributors to conflicting research results. Thus, the main goal of this article is to advance research in this area by describing the specific structure and objectives of the Short-term Dynamic treatment approach. A two-stage approach in an Anxiety-regulation model of STDP is described in which the primary objectives represent the underlying principles of psychodynamics. The first stage is the restructuring of defensive behavior, and the second stage focuses on affective responding. Specific behavioral changes to be achieved within each stage are identified, as well as time-efficient interventions integrated from other theoretical orientations. The similarities and differences in treatment structure and objectives are compared among STDP, cognitive, behavioral, and interpersonal approaches. Such careful operationalization of stages and interventions not only can be of assistance in allowing research comparisons among treatment models, but can also be useful in providing clear treatment guidelines for practitioners as well as research therapists. Thus, although there have been frequent laments that psychotherapy research does not influence clinical practice, this model is unique in that its treatment objectives are the direct outgrowth of a programmatic body of clinical research.

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