For all those engaged in psychotherapy practice, regardless of modality or approach, the goal of this book is to provide a framework and method for thinking about their work that allows for critical reflection on their own successes and disappointments, and on the similarities and differences among their own and other practitioners’ work with different clients. The authors use a novel "common factors" approach, based on the idea that some form of development is the outcome of all effective psychotherapy, despite other differences that may exist.

While most existing psychotherapy research focuses on treatment outcomes, primarily in terms of symptom reduction, this book offers an alternative research approach that systematically tracks the psychotherapy process itself, and describes each case’s unique developmental outcome. In particular, Basseches & Mascolo focus on the questions of what kinds of therapeutic resources therapists are offering to their clients and whether and how clients are able to make use of these resources in the service of their own development.

The goal is to provide a descriptive framework that can be used to appreciate the highly varied ways in which particular therapists tailor their work to unique clients’ developmental needs, while at the same time offering a prescription of a more rigorous method for recognizing and correcting the problem when a particular therapist’s way of working is not serving the client well. Ideally, this type of process-focused research will complement existing outcome research, and be more likely than further symptom-reduction studies to result in the improvement of overall psychotherapy success rates.

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Part I: Introduction

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Part III: Method