A Short Introduction to Psychotherapy (Short Introductions by Christine Lister-Ford

By Christine Lister-Ford

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This has a major influence on the therapeutic relationship. The role of the therapist was to provide information and to influence the session so that it takes an appropriate direction related to Maria’s goals. At the same time Maria needed to be purposeful and engaged in the therapy, and willing to invest time and energy between sessions. qxd 44 5/2/2007 7:52 PM Page 44 A SHORT INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOTHERAPY The importance of the therapist as a person is much less with this type of therapy. The therapist does not disclose aspects of their own experience in being with the client.

Mental aliveness is a continual adaptation to these conflicting forces as the individual compromises desire with social and familial appropriateness. In order to contain intolerable states of anxiety, which arise through the experience of internal conflict, we develop a system of defences. These defences have the function of protecting us from the anxiety that arises through experiencing these unacceptable wishes. A psychodynamic approach proposes a basic structure of the mind within which the management of these conflicts occur.

It implies greater diversification of practice, and presents interesting challenges to the researcher. Despite the development of integrative psychotherapy, the field continues to be characterised by theoretical and methodological distinctions, and psychotherapy as a profession in the UK is structured to highlight difference rather than similarity. However, this is changing. Recent trends in Britain, such as the exercise of developing criteria for National Vocational Qualifications in Psychotherapy, have begun to highlight the common ground across modalities, and there is increasing dialogue between different psychotherapeutic ‘schools’.

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