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Corradi, R.B. (2006). Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: A Core Conceptual Model and Its Application. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 34(1):93-116.

(2006). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 34(1):93-116

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: A Core Conceptual Model and Its Application

Richard B. Corradi, M.D.

Contemporary American psychiatry, influenced by the “biologic revolution” with its emphasis on a brain-disease model of mental illness, and operating in a managed care delivery system, is in danger of relinquishing its listening and talking functions—psychotherapy—in favor of prescribing drugs. However, despite remarkable advances in the neurosciences, there is still no pharmaceutical magic bullet. The author argues for the continued relevancy of psychotherapy and outlines a practical psychodynamic approach that utilizes fundamental analytic concepts. These concepts—transference, the dual theory of drives, the repetition compulsion, and mechanisms of defense—are described and their clinical application is illustrated. This core conceptual model has significant heuristic value in treating patients and in teaching psychotherapy to psychiatric residents. With its emphasis on the power of the doctor-patient relationship, it teaches residents an effective body of knowledge that helps them define their professional identity—as psychiatrists whose most effective therapeutic tool is themselves, not the drugs they dispense.

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