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Making Psychotherapy Work: Collaborating Effectively With Your Patient

(PSYCHIATRIC TIMES) - by Steven A. Frankel;
Madison, Conn: Psychosocial Press, 2007
351 pages • $47.00 (softcover)

Making Psychotherapy Work: Collaborating Effectively with Your Patient is an engaging book that will interest most practicing psychotherapists. Steven A. Frankel is a psychiatrist as well as an effective, practicing psychotherapist with psychoanalytic training, and his book will be relevant for those who work with patients in a psychotherapy context.

Frankel uses Making Psychotherapy Work to embellish and expand on work from his earlier texts, Intricate Engagements: The Collaborative Basis of Therapeutic Change (2004, Jason Aronson)and Hidden Faults: Recognizing and Resolving Therapeutic Disjunctions (2000, Psychosocial Press). In this book, he stresses the importance of 4 key concepts: collaboration, not knowing, authenticity, and self-revelation.

Frankel refers to his overall approach to therapy as the "conjunctive model of therapeutic collaboration" and uses extensive case material to illustrate its application. A handful of case vignettes—Brittany, Marty, Dr Mark, Allison, and Natalie—appear in almost every chapter, allowing the reader to feel as if he or she knows these patients personally.

The cases illustrate the challenges that each of them presented in therapy and the frequently unconventional decisions Frankel made as their therapist. These discussions are embellished by references to the literature and discussions of the author's rationale for disregarding traditional wisdom and the techniques, methods, and values he has been taught in his own training (eg, he describes why he decided to hold Natalie's hand at one point in her treatment, and why he believes this was the right decision and an eventually therapeutic maneuver).

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