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A Psychologist's Thoughts on Clinical Practice, Behavior, and Life

The Nature of Psychotherapy

The four basic psychotherapeutic postures, ways in which the doctor relates to their patient, are: the analytic posture, during which the patient's life is explored and understood; the relationship posture, during which the patient's mistrust is diminished and their basic trust is strengthened; the supportive posture, during which the patient's existing healthy modes of relating are strengthened; and the replacement posture, during which the patient's inadequate ego capacities are re-developed to greater maturity. Of these the analytic posture, the interpretation of troubling thoughts and feelings, has the oldest historic roots, it being Freud's mode of treatment after abandoning hypnosis. The analytic posture comprises several beliefs: that there is an unconscious conflict between different parts of the patient's mind of which they are unaware, its history deriving from childhood; and that interpretation can eliminate their distress. A process that is complicated by the therapist's need to interpret in installments as therapy proceeds, modulated by the therapist's own conscious and unconscious goals for the patient's development. The work of psychotherapy is not simple since it involves creating a patient's new life narrative, and one for which objective factual data from the past is lacking..

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