A Review of Supportive Psychotherapy

Hospital & community psychiatry 12/1986; 37(11):1105-14. DOI: 10.1176/ps.37.11.1105
Source: PubMed


Although supportive psychotherapy techniques are more widely used than expressive or insight-oriented techniques, particularly with hospitalized or chronically ill patients, supportive treatment strategies have been underrepresented in the literature and not adequately taught to therapists in training. The authors review the diverse definitions and goals of supportive therapy as related to two major types of objectives. They stress the distinction between the supportive relationship, which is present to some extent in all psychotherapy, and supportive treatment, and they examine the inverse relationship between expressive and supportive therapy. Finally, selected elements and techniques of the conduct of supportive therapy, such as style of communication, respect, praise, advice, self-disclosure, and interpretation, are discussed.

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    • "The overall technical approach of supportive psychotherapy is one of pragmatism in which the physician, based on medical and psychiatric expertise, helps the patient interpret and adapt to reality (Winston et al. 1986). As such, the therapist employs techniques that include defining reality, offering direct reassurance, giving advice on current problems of living, urging modification of expectations, and actively organizing the environment for "
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    • "Little research support for effectiveness of insight-oriented psychodynamic therapy with persons with schizophrenia in reducing symptoms, rehospitalizations, or enhancing vocational and social adjustment. Psychotherapies specifically designed for schizophrenia do show some hope and positive outcomes: major role therapy (Hogarty, Goldberg, & the Collaborative Study Group, 1973); realityadaptive supportive therapy (Gunderson et al., 1984; Novalis, Rojcewicz, & Peele, 1993; Rockland, 1993), and personal therapy (Hogarty et al., 1995). Cognitive and interpersonal therapy for depressed clients show strong effects (Antonucci et al., 1995). "
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