Modes of Therapeutic Action
How do we position ourselves, moment by moment, in relation to our patients and how do these positions inform both what we come to know about our patients and how we intervene? Do we participate as neutral object, as empathic self-object, or as authentic subject? Do we strive to enhance the patient's knowledge, to provide a corrective experience, or to work at the intimate edge? In an effort to answer these and other clinically relevant questions about the process of psychotherapeutic change, Martha Stark has developed a comprehensive theory of therapeutic action that integrates the interpretive perspective of classical psychoanalysis (Model 1), the corrective-provision perspective of self psychology and those object relations theories emphasizing the internal 'absence of good' (Model 2), and the relational perspective of contemporary psychoanalysis and those object relations theories emphasizing the internal 'presence of bad' (Model 3). Model I is about knowledge and insight. It is a one-person psychology because its focus is on the patient and the internal workings of her mind. Model 2 is about corrective experience. It is a one-and-a-half-person psychology because its emphasis is not so much on the relationship per se, but on the filling in of the patient's deficits by way of the therapist's corrective provision; what ultimately matters is not who the therapist is, but, rather, what she can offer. Model 3 is about relationship, the real relationship. It is a two-person psychology because its focus is on patients and therapists who relate to each other as real people; it is about mutuality, reciprocity, and intersubjectivity. Whereas Model 2 is about 'give' and involves the therapist's bringing the best of who she is into the room, Model 3 is about 'give-and-take' and involves the therapist's bringing all of who she is into the room. As Dr. Stark repeatedly demonstrates in numerous clinical vignettes, the three modes of therapeutic actionDknowledge, experience, and relationshipDare not mutually exclusive but mutually enhancing. If, as therapists, we can tolerate the necessary uncertainty that comes with the recognition that there is an infinite variety of possibilities for change, then we will be able to enhance the therapeutic potential of each moment and optimize our effectiveness as clinicians.
- Hardback | 384 pages
- 163 x 235 x 37mm | 762g
- 28 Oct 2000
- Jason Aronson Inc. Publishers
- Northvale NJ, United States
Martha Stark has brought together the three fundamental theories about how therapy works that prevail in our field at present, and has shrewdly drawn out the virtues of each. Her own integrated conception is at once sophisticated and practical. Therapists of every level of experience will profit from it. Engaging and convincing clinical vignettes bring Stark's concepts alive, illustrating them in a way that resonates with a practitioner's experience. Modes of Therapeutic Action is a no-nonsense, deeply human, eminently useful study of what really thappens in a successful psychotherapy. -- Owen Renik, M.D. A remarkable book. Stark illustrates the therapeutic action of the major psychoanalytic theoretical paradigms with many vignettes that clinicians will readily be able to recognize from their own practices. The clinical moments are described with extraordinary candor and vividness. This integration of theory and practice makes the book both highly relevant clinically, and extremely instructive theoretically. -- Anna Ornstein, M.D. and Paul H. Ornstein, M.D. In a time of quick fixes, Martha Stark's book on the modes of therapeutic action is a treasure that examines the very soul of the healing process. Honoring and integrating the contributions of separate schools of psychoanalytic thought, she squarely places the shared humanness of therapist and patient at the center of all therapeutic change. I have never read a better book about the essential complexity and beauty of the therapeutic process. -- Bessel A. van der Kolk, M.D. With Modes of Therapeutic Action, Martha Stark has taken the fledgling field of comparative psychoanalysis into a new and important domain. She develops in great detail a framework for contrasting and exploring the major contemporary models of the analytic process. She takes us underneath the slogans and banners of the various schools so that we may compare their underlying concepts and presuppositions. And she demonstrates what different technical systems actually look like in live action by presenting a remarkably rich array of clinical examples. This book will contribute to the enrichment of both the thinking and clinical sensibility of clinicians at all levels of experience and sophistication. -- Stephen A. Mitchell, Ph.D.
About Martha Stark
Martha Stark, M.D., a graduate of the Harvard Medical School and the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute, is a psychiatrist/psychoanalyst in private practice in Newton Centre, Massachusetts. Dr. Stark is on the faculty of both the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute and the Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis. She is also a Clinical Instructor in Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School, has a teaching appointment at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, and is on the faculty of the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies at the Massachusetts General Hospital.