The Power of Specificity in Psychotherapy

The Power of Specificity in Psychotherapy : When Therapy Works-And When It Doesn't

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The Power of Specificity in Psychotherapy: When Therapy Works-And When It Doesn't presents specificity theory, a contemporary process theory of psychotherapy that holds that each therapist-patient dyad constitutes a unique reciprocal system, challenging us to reconsider how psychotherapy is optimally practiced and taught. The perspectives of specificity theory are corroborated by cutting-edge findings in neurobiology and infant research and alter traditional views of how we understand and utilize "theory," "response," and "relationship" in both treatment and training.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 180 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 17.78mm | 816.46g
  • Jason Aronson Inc. Publishers
  • Northvale NJ, United States
  • English
  • 0765707691
  • 9780765707697
  • 1,825,837

Review quote

Building on and synthesizing a half century of practice and personal analytic experiences with the likes of Balint, Winnicott, Bion, Milner, and Kohut, Howard Bacal offers us a broadly relational, process theory that addresses the heart of all psychotherapy and its supervision: the specifics of fittedness between patient and therapist as well as the unique match between therapist and supervisor. It is just this that was neglected for so long in psychoanalytic theory and practice that is now presented so clearly, and richly integrated with contemporary neuroscience and infancy research. -- Lewis Aron, PhD, New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy & Psychoanalysis The Power of Specificity In Psychotherapy expands and deepens our understanding of therapeutic action and the change process. Specificity theory is as groundbreaking as it is orienting for the therapist or analyst who wonders why accepted doctrine and standardized technique so frequently do not work. Presented in a well-written, articulate, and accessible manner, Bacal's cutting-edge approach to reconceptualizing therapeutic interaction and to appreciating the uniqueness of relational engagement frees us from our reliance upon linear, codified, and objectivist methodologies aimed at therapeutic change. In true contextualist, process-based fashion, Bacal conveys a deep respect for the individual and the uniqueness of the dyadic engagement-without which patients, and therapists, are otherwise so often rendered less than human. Grounded in personal lived experience as well as current research, this must-read book is as immediately clinically useful as it is scholarly and expansive of theory. -- William J. Coburn Ph.D, Psy.D., editor, International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology Bacal's lucidly written and richly illustrated book is a pleasure to read. Both seasoned clinicians and beginners will find a freshness in his approach. Thinking about the specificity that emerges in the process of the dyad of patient and therapist or the triad of supervisor, supervisee, and patient makes each clinical exchange a unique opportunity for emotional growth and learning. -- Judy L. Kantrowitz, PhD, Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, Harvard Medical School
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About Howard A. Bacal

Howard A. Bacal, MD, is a training and supervising analyst at the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis and at the New Center for Psychoanalysis in Los Angeles, and supervising analyst at the Institute for the Psychoanalytic Study of Subjectivity and the National Training Program in Contemporary Psychoanalysis in New York. He has a private practice in Los Angeles, California. He is co-author of Theories of Object Relations: Bridges to Self Psychology, and editor of Optimal Responsiveness: How Therapists Heal Their Patients. Lucyann Carlton, PsyD, JD, is a training and supervising analyst at the Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis in Los Angeles, and she has a private practice in Irvine, California.
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Table of contents

1 Preface 2 Acknowledgments Chapter 3 1. The Need for a New Theory of Therapy Chapter 4 2. The Use of Theory in Psychoanalytic Practice Chapter 5 3. How Specificity Theory Changes Clinical Practice Chapter 6 4. The Neurobiological Substrate of Specificity Theory Chapter 7 5. The Evolution Of Specificity Theory: A Professional and Personal Odyssey Chapter 8 6. The Foundational Perspectives of Specificity Theory Chapter 9 7. Clinical Consequences of the Shift from the Universality of Structure To the Specificity of Process Chapter 10 8. How Specificity Theory Alters Our View of Psychoanalytic Concepts And Principles and How This Affects Therapeutic Action Chapter 11 9. Correlates of Specificity Theory within Infant Research Chapter 12 10. The Power of Specificity in the Process of Supervision 13 References 14 Index 15 About the Authors
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