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Scarcella, E. (2016). The Psychotherapy of Hope: The Legacy of Persuasion and Healing, edited by Renato D. Alarcón, M.D., M.P.H., and Julia B. Frank, M.D., Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, 2011, 368 pp., $49.95.. Psychodyn. Psych., 44(1):123-126.
(2016). Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 44(1):123-126
The Psychotherapy of Hope: The Legacy of Persuasion and Healing, edited by Renato D. Alarcón, M.D., M.P.H., and Julia B. Frank, M.D., Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, 2011, 368 pp., $49.95.
Review by: Erminia Scarcella, M.D., D.L.F.A.P.A.
I read this book with great interest knowing that Jerome Frank was a towering figure in the mental health field in the 20th century. Each chapter of The Psychotherapy of Hope: The Legacy of Persuasion and Healing is written by a distinguished author in the field of mental health and shows the evolution of Frank's ideas.
The central theme in this book is demoralization and how it affects the wellbeing of the individual. It is interesting how little attention has been given to demoralization in the 21st century. Frank stressed that it is critical to instill a sense of hope and mastery in the course of the therapeutic process regardless of the theoretical school of psychoanalysis or psychotherapy to which the therapist belongs. He believed that a common curative factor in psychotherapy is the ability of the therapist to elicit hope and trust in the patient. It follows that forming a solid therapeutic attachment is essential. The placebo effect of our actions also must never be discounted.
I will highlight a few of the chapters to give the reader an idea of some of the topics in this book.
Chapter 3 on “Neural Substrates of Psychotherapy” by George Viamontes and Bernard Beitman discusses brain activity and the concept of neural circuits. We learn that three major circuits allow for the interconnection of sensation, thinking, emotion, and memory and these are then expressed in the multiform activities of human behavior. In making the connection between psyche and brain, these authors map the dimensions of the Ego, Id, and Superego within the brain. The circuitry associated with the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) can be seen as the substrate for many attributes of the Ego, while the anterior cingulate circuit (ACC) is more associated with the Id and the orbitofrontal circuits (OFC) is more connected with the function of the Superego.
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