The book deals with initial interviews in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, suggesting the idea of special “indicators”. These indicators relate to three main areas.
Firstly, psychoanalytical understanding of initial interviews to evaluate the patient's suitability for a psychoanalytically based treatment, discussing the dynamics, aims and technique of the interview. Three areas to be explored in the interview are considered: psychopathological data; biographical data, and data arising from the interaction of the patient with the therapist in the interview itself.
Secondly, part of the book is devoted to the definition and description of what the author calls “indicators” for the therapist to build a personality profile showing suitability for psychoanalytic treatment. The main theoretical bases of the book are Freud, Klein and Bion.
A third part deals with the controversial issue of the differentiation between psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. The specificity of psychoanalysis is defined in comparison with psychotherapy. A specific psychoanalytic method and setting may be created as well as a specific psychotherapeutic method and setting.