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Amir, I. Shefler, G. (2020). The “Lechol Nefesh” Project: Intensive and Long Term Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in Public Mental Health Centers. Psychoanal. Inq., 40(7):536-549.

(2020). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 40(7):536-549

The “Lechol Nefesh” Project: Intensive and Long Term Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in Public Mental Health Centers

Ilan Amir, M.D. and Gaby Shefler, Ph.D.

“Lechol Nefesh” (“For Every Soul”) is a Non Profit Organization established in Israel in 2010 by a group of members of the Israeli Psychoanalytic Society with the objective of setting up unique therapeutic units for the provision of long-term, intensive psychoanalytic psychotherapy in the framework of the public mental health clinics. These units offer a therapy program of 2–3 sessions per week, for a period of at least 3 years, to patients whose emotional state has shown no improvement or stabilization despite their having received the full range of standard treatments. Patients are accepted without any diagnostic limitation, the only requirement being that they attend sessions regularly and consistently. They are also asked to participate in an evaluative research project designed to assess the program’s effectiveness.

This article presents the underlying theoretical and clinical thinking and the work methods of the units, as well as a detailed psychotherapy description of one patient. In a brief presentation of the outcome study carried out over a period of more than 3 years, we discuss the findings for the 18 patients who participated.

The research results present a clear and statistically significant finding that long-term, intensive psychoanalytic psychotherapy is a valid and effective treatment option for this group of patients. Moreover, there is a clear and direct correlation between the provision of psychotherapy and a dramatic reduction in the number of psychiatric hospitalization days. These two main findings, and particularly the significant savings resulting from the reduced number of hospitalizations, have enabled the organization to expand both the number of units and the number of patients in treatment.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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