For many patients, supportive therapy is the treatment of choice, and for many others, the use of medications or of more expressive techniques optimally occurs in the context of a supportive relationship. Yet, there is a paucity of literature expressly devoted to the techniques and aims of supportive psychotherapy. In A Primer of Supportive Psychotherapy, Henry Pinsker remedies this situation by focusing directly on the rationale for, and techniques of, supportive psychotherapy. He explores this modality as a form of dyadic intervention quite distinct from expressive psychotherapies, and also shows how, to varying extents, supportive psychotherapy makes use of patterns of relationships and behavior, past and present. Pinsker's writing is wise, human, and direct. The realities, ironies, conundrums, and opportunities of the therapeutic encounter are vividly portrayed in scores of illustrative dialogues drawn from actual treatments.
Destined to become the classic introductory work in the field, A Primer of Supportive Psychotherapy will be valued by students and trainees in all mental health disciplines--and by their teachers--for its wealth of practical guidelines and explicit instruction on how to develop, maintain, and make optimal therapeutic use of a supportive relationship. Psychopharmacologists, counselors, nurse practitioners, and primary care physicians are among the helping professionals who will likewise benefit from Pinsker's clear presentation of the principles of supportive work. Beyond its didactic value, this text will be an indispensable conceptual touchstone for any clinician interested in understanding more clearly the differences among various interventional modalities as a preliminary step in optimal treatment planning.
Reviews and Endorsements:
"Henry Pinsker offers the world of psychotherapy training a much-needed reference in supportive psychotherapy. He provides a blend of theoretical constructs and practical clinical dialogues that illuminates a path for the beginner to begin a journey into the supportive psychotherapeutic relationship. Novices will welcome this book as though it were a wise, senior psychotherapy supervisor guiding them through language and communication with the patient in a way that goes beyond silent listening or interrogation and elaborates a conversational style. This is a generous volume, dense with timely and valuable information. It is a book that should be read, thought about, and then read again."
- T. Byram Karasu, M.D., Silverman Professor and Chairman, Department of Psychiatry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
"Many books on psychotherapy are heavy on theory and sparse on specific techniques and interventions. Henry Pinsker's A Primer of Supportive Psychotherapy reverses this pattern and presents detailed and useful information on how to conduct psychotherapy. Behind Pinsker's deceptively simple and practical suggestions lie a great deal of experience and wisdom. Indeed, in his choice of title, Pinsker is being too modest. The decent, humane, and commonsensical approach to psychotherapy described in this book will be of value to all therapists."
- Morris Eagle, Ph.D., Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies, Adelphi University
"A young, analytically oriented teacher recently reported discouragement when her students in a graduate clinical program persistently complained, 'But how do you say it?' Indeed, few professional training programs deal sufficiently with the nuances of language that result in communicating or failing to communicate what one intends. Pinsker offers rich and abundant examples of conversations between patients and their helpers to illustrate the ways in which subtle aspects of tone and wording can provide support or give offense - and therapists of many persuasions will profit from listening in. At a time when many analysts acknowledge a supportive component in their expressive therapies, this component of training deserves more attention."
- Jean Sanville, Ph.D., Supervising and Training Analyst, Los Angeles Institute and Society for Psychoanalytic Studies
"Supportive therapy is the hardest to do and perhaps the most ubiquitous and important. Dr. Pinsker is the high master of this art and we should all be grateful to him for sharing his secrets. This book is a must for clinicians at all levels of experience."
- Allen Frances, M.D., Chairman, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Duke University
Definition and Scope of Support Psychotherapy Ego Functions. Conversational Style. Self-Esteem. Reduction and Prevention of Anxiety. Ego Functions. Adaptive Skills. Specific Supportive Techniques. The Expressive Component. Patient-Therapist Relationship. Practical Treatment Issues. Planning and Ending Treatment. Conclusion.