Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy: A Practitioner's Guide

Author(s): Nancy McWilliams

Psychology & Counselling

Building on the enormous popularity of her two previous texts on diagnosis and case formulation, this important work from Nancy McWilliams completes the trilogy by addressing in detail the art of psychodynamic treatment.

McWilliams distills the essential themes of effective clinical practice across the vast range of suffering people who need help. Drawing from her years of experience as a clinician and supervisor, the author presents complex clinical information in personal, nontechnical language enriched by clinical vignettes, making this an essential psychoanalytic work and training text for therapists. The book begins with a description of the values, assumptions, and clinical and research findings that guide the psychoanalytic enterprise. The author goes on to discuss ways both clinicians and patients can best prepare for therapeutic work. She explores in depth the substance, boundaries, stresses, and rewards of a vocation in which the therapist's personal participation in the treatment relationship has consistently been found to be the central determinant of a client's growth and change. Challenging the widespread belief that only "healthier" patients do well in psychoanalytic


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"Nancy McWilliams [is] insightful scholar, an engaging author, and a respected synthesizer of, and contributor to, the accumulated wisdom of the psychoanalytic enterprise. This reputation is founded, in part, on two previous books that have been widely read and admired: Psychoanalytic Diagnosis (1994) and Psychoanalytic Case Formulation (1999). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy completes the trilogy. Many prominent reviewers of this book have already commented on the wide-ranging clinical wisdom that it transmits.... It is not unusual for a book jacket to describe a psychotherapy text as essential reading that is equally valuable for trainees and experienced therapists. Although this seldom may truly be the case, I believe that it is the case with all three books in McWilliams' outstanding trilogy."--Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic

"The author fully meets the task she sets out to accomplish using her experiences both as therapist and patient....For those entering the field, it is a must-have text, and for seasoned practitioners it offers much food for thought."--The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease

"Excellent....It is rare to find a text that is so excellent for new practitioners and that also has enough sophisticated clinical insights to be worthwhile reading for experienced therapists.. McWilliams has useful advice for therapists of all orientations. She combines hope and realism in a manner that engenders optimism for the future of psychoanalytic therapy... this is another excellent text by Dr. McWilliams--her best yet--which I cannot recommend too highly to any mental health professional who performs any type of psychotherapy. In my opinion, this should bethe first book on treatment read by every beginning psychotherapist, including all psychiatric residents at the start of their residency."--The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry

"...useful for anyone interested in a recent overview of psychoanalytic psychotherapy....The style of writing is clear and direct and does not overwhelm the reader with psychoanalytic jargon. The book contains a wealth of practical instruction and advice and includes many personal anecdotes from McWilliams' experience as an analyst. A striking element of the book is its near conversational tone... especially useful for students, teachers, and practitioners of psychoanalytic or psychodynamic therapies but therapists of all persuasions will find it interesting. Highly recommended for academic libraries serving programs in psychiatry or clinical psychology. An essential book for libraries serving psychoanalytic or psychodynamic training programs."--E-Streams

"..the book is a survival guide for trainees and young professionals, a highly relevant reminder for supervisors and training programs of often overlooked professional issues and challenges, and a tome of experiential wisdom that practitioners of any orientation at any level of experience can easily identify with....provide[s] highly useful discussions of many topics not typically found [in] therapy texts, especially those emphasizing a particular technique. Those of us who supervise trainees commonly encounter these topics and the text will go a long way in providing an articulate source for trainees to refer to when faced with such issues....practitioners at all levels of experience can take in the benefits of thebook."--Psychologist-Psychoanalyst

" enjoyable and informative book and well worth the read."--Psychiatric Services

"This book is written by an experienced clinician and clinical supervisor, eager to share her knowledge, her professional, and sometimes personal, experiences with her readers....This is a very insightful book, one of the very few books that I am sure to go back to to seek advice on the therapy process and on self-care."--Pastoral Sciences

"This is a wonderful book, written by a seasoned veteran who is able to communicate ideas in a very readable manner. As I read the material, I found myself saying, 'Yes, yes.' Therapists of any orientation can gain a considerable amount because her ideas address therapy issues which we all encounter. For those in the psychodynamic camp, it should be considered 'must' reading. I appreciate the author's direct and candid style....4 Stars!"--Doody's Electronic Journal

.,."contains vital information that practitioners and recipients alike should internalize to promote optimum treatment results....covers all the basic groundwork with the calm, reasoned voice of years of practical experience. Recommended for those considering psychotherapy as a career as well as those involved in practice looking to broaden their awareness of available methods."--Wisconsin Bookwatch

"Stands as a beacon, not simply recalling, but recreating the tenets of psychoanalytic practice in a broad-minded and frank way....This book will be a godsend to beginning therapists, and yet a stimulating read for the more experienced practitioner. McWilliams has a rare ability to celebrate the pluralities in our practices, despite deep division intheory and so-called techniques, while emphasizing the fundamental similarities in practice necessary to create and foster therapeutic relationships....McWilliams' style is accessible, candid, and humorous....Along with her warmth, perspective, and inclusiveness, McWilliams offers us a formidable array of references on every topic relevant to practice, from therapy outcome research to legal dilemmas to the importance of self-care."--The American Journal of Psychoanalysis

"The author has a gift to address complicated issues in psychotherapeutic practice and make them more clear and succinct, so one can more easily locate one's own personal stance amongst the widely divergent opinions present in the massive clinical literature."--Psychotherapy Review

Nancy McWilliams, PhD, teaches psychoanalytic theory and therapy at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers... The State University of New Jersey. A 1978 graduate of the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis, she also teaches at the Institute for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy of New Jersey, the National Training Program in Contemporary Psychotherapy and the Minnesota Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalytic Studies.

What Defines a Psychoanalytic Therapy?; The Psychoanalytic Sensibility; The Therapist's Preparation; Preparing the Client. Boundaries I: The Frame; Basic Therapy Processes; Boundaries II: Quandaries; Molly; Donna; Ancillary Lessons of Psychoanalytic Therapy; Occupational Hazards and Gratifications; Self-Care; Appendix: Annotated Bibliography.

General Fields

  • : 9781593850098
  • : Guilford Publications
  • : Guilford Publications
  • : March 2004
  • : United States
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Nancy McWilliams
  • : Hardback
  • : 616.8917
  • : 344
  • : illustrations