For Therapists

Dear Therapist,

Whatever your background or orientation do you sometimes experience moments when you wished you understood better what was going on in psychotherapy with a particular patient?

Do you wonder at times if a technique from a different school of therapy might be more effective?

In this part of I want to share new ways of thinking about therapy and understanding patients that will help to answer those questions.

  • The Affect Avoidance Model: It turns out that all the pathology that can be resolved through psychotherapy can be understood as mechanisms that started out as ways to avoid painful, overwhelming and uncomfortable feelings, and then became dysfunctional. This unifying concept is friendly to all theoretical orientations.
  • All therapists do two things: We help patients heal avoided feelings and we help them change dysfunctional patterns of thought and behavior. Realizing this, we can bring techniques from many different schools under one roof to better understand one another and compare notes on what works best in a particular situation.

In the posts that make up this new thread, I will share some ideas form my upcoming textbook, Psychotherapy: A Practical Guide, due out in March, 2017. I hope that readers will feel free to comment and ask questions. That is often how the best discussions come about. If you comment on a post, you can ask questions there, too. I will see your comment before it is added to the post. Thanks for reading.

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Jeffery Smith MD

See more posts in “For Therapists” (Note most are also for lay people)