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Nierenberg, M.A. (1987). Family Dynamics in Individual Psychotherapy. A Guide to Clinical Strategies: By Ellen F. Wachtel and Paul L. Wachtel. New York & London: The Guilford Press, 1986. 258 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 56:715-716.

(1987). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 56:715-716

Family Dynamics in Individual Psychotherapy. A Guide to Clinical Strategies: By Ellen F. Wachtel and Paul L. Wachtel. New York & London: The Guilford Press, 1986. 258 pp.

Review by:
Marvin A. Nierenberg

"Developments in family therapy ought to be useful to the individual therapist," is the first line and main thesis of this book by a wife and husband whose expertise is in the fields of family therapy and individual therapy respectively. They proceed to outline the ways they integrate in their individual psychotherapy cases the various theories of family interactional processes and techniques used by family therapists. It is important to emphasize that they do not propose that these approaches be used in psychoanalysis. Psychotherapists whose work is strongly influenced by psychoanalytic concepts will regard some of them with skepticism.

Initially, the authors present their ideas about individual psychodynamics and therapy, which are influenced both by behavioral concepts and by the theories of Erikson, Horney, and Sullivan. They then summarize the principal concepts in the field of family therapy in a clear and concise way. In the remainder of the book they detail ways they have found to apply these family system concepts and techniques to individual therapy.

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