In Interpretive and Supportive Psychotherapies: Matching Therapy and Patient Personality, authors William E. Piper, Anthony S. Joyce, Mary McCallum, Hassan F. Azim, and John S. Ogrodniczuk offer a framework for making short-term psychodynamic therapy easier, quicker, and more effective.

Despite shared theoretical roots, short-term dynamic therapies differ widely in objectives and techniques. An approach may fall anywhere from "interpretive" to "supportive." Interpretive therapies emphasize insight into repetitive conflicts and traumas underlying a patient's problems. Patients are urged to talk, explore uncomfortable emotions, and focus on past figures. Supportive therapies emphasize improving the patient's immediate adaptation to his or her environment and are characterized by praise, guidance, structured problem solving, and therapist disclosure. Both forms have a proven record of effectiveness, but neither is right for every patient.

As an aid to optimal matching, the authors offer a framework for differentiating the many different forms of short-term psychodynamic therapy, based on where on the interpretive–supportive continuum certain key features lie. They show how two patient characteristics—quality of object relations and psychological mindedness—are relevant to success in each form of therapy. The inclusion of treatment manuals and ample clinical illustrations highlight the practical relevance of this essential guide.

Table of Contents



I. The Development of Dynamic Short-Term Therapies

  1. Defining Dynamically Oriented, Short-Term Interpretive Psychotherapy and Determining Good Candidates
  2. Defining Dynamically Oriented Supportive Psychotherapy and Determining Good Candidates
  3. Interpretive and Supportive Dimensions of Psychotherapy

II. Empirical Findings

  1. Optimal Matching of Patients and Short-Term Psychotherapies
  2. Quality of Object Relations and Psychological Mindedness: Predictive Patient Characteristics in Time-Limited Therapies
  3. Interaction of Interpretive and Supportive Forms of Psychotherapy and Patient Personality Variables
  4. Determining the Role Gender Plays as a Patient Aptitude for Therapy
  5. Relationships Among Therapy Process, Outcome, and Dropping Out

III. Case Studies: Matching Patients and Therapies

  1. Clinical Illustrations of Dropping Out From Interpretive Psychotherapy: The Importance of Flexibility
  2. Relationships Between Patient Personality Variables and the Process of Psychotherapy: Clinical Illustrations of Successful and Unsuccessful Cases

IV. Manuals and Monitoring Scales

  1. Therapy Manuals for Interpretive and Supportive Forms of Psychotherapy
  2. Use of the Interpretive and Supportive Technique Scale

V. Conclusion

  1. Themes and Future Directions


  1. Manual for Time Limited, Short-Term Interpretive Individual Therapy
  2. Manual for Time Limited, Short-Term Supportive Individual Therapy
  3. Rater Manual for the Interpretive and Supportive Technique Scale


Author Index

Subject Index

About the Authors