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July 2020

Psychotherapy as a performing art: The role of therapeutic style

Journal/Book: Modern Psychoanalysis. 1984; 9: 171-178.

Abstract: Contends that like the practices of surgery, painting, sculpting, writing, music, and dance, the practice of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis is a performing art. In the psychotherapeutic encounter, as the analysand's life scripts are reenacted in the transference repetition, a drama unfolds. To play the role of a psychotherapist effectively requires at least as much artistry and skill as that involved in a dramatic performance and the use of many of the same skills. As is true of any artists, what therapists do in any given instance is compounded by personality factors as well as their talent, beliefs and experiences, repertoire of techniques, values, and feelings of the moment. These factors, along with their theoretical orientation, materialize in what is called the therapeutic style. It is concluded that the validation of a psychotherapist's performance requires the application of moral and aesthetic standards, more like the judgment of an actor or a,–-–-–- lawyer than the assessment of the outcome of a scientific procedure. (9 ref)

Note: therapeutic style in psychotherapy & psychoanalysis

Keyword(s): Psychotherapy ; psychoanalysis ; psychotherapeutic processes

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