Inside the Session: What Really Happens in Psychotherapy
For individuals in the U.S. & U.S. territories
Unlike many presentations of clinical material, Inside the Session does not offer carefully selected examples of therapeutic dialogue that are conveniently chosen to conform to the therapist's views. Rather, it presents full transcripts of three entire sessions, enabling readers to see not just what went right but also where the therapist may have missed a crucial detail or may have intervened at the wrong moment. This volume provides a rare opportunity to look over the shoulder — and into the mind — of a renowned psychotherapist at work.
The therapist in this candid and revealing work is prolific author Paul L. Wachtel, who intersperses the sessions' transcripts with insightful at-the-moment commentary on how to explore the client's thoughts and experiences in ways that encourage insight and promote new interpersonal patterns and on the fine points of language choice by the therapist.
A further illuminating feature of the book is an integrative framework that links the clinical work and the theoretical discussion. Wachtel's well-known integrative theory draws on psychodynamic, cognitive–behavioral, systemic, and experiential perspectives, highlighting convergences that are obscured by different terminologies and clarifying where the differences are real and important.
I. Grounding Assumptions and Principles
- Psychotherapy at Ground Level
- Inside Two Heads: The Two-Person Perspective and Its Implications for Theory and Practice
II. The Sessions
- Louise: Session 1
- Louise: Session 2
- The Sessions in Retrospect
About the Author
Paul L. Wachtel, PhD, is a distinguished professor in the doctoral program in clinical psychology at City College of New York and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He did his undergraduate work at Columbia University; received his PhD in clinical psychology from Yale University; and is a graduate of the postdoctoral psychoanalytic training program at New York University, where he is also on the faculty.
He is internationally recognized as an innovator in the field of psychotherapy and for his contributions to the application of psychological theory and research to the pressing social problems of our times.
A cofounder of the Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration, Dr. Wachtel is the author of many books on psychotherapy, personality dynamics, and psychologically oriented social criticism, including Action and Insight; The Poverty of Affluence; Family Dynamics in Individual Psychotherapy; Therapeutic Communication; Psychoanalysis, Behavior Therapy, and the Relational World; Race in the Mind of America: Breaking the Vicious Circles Between Blacks and Whites; and, most recently, Relational Theory and the Practice of Psychotherapy. A number of his books have been widely described as classics in the field.
Wachtel chose to include his commentary primarily to show, as the teaching tool this book is meant to be, exactly how a therapist's mind works while he or she is in session. Textbook examples disregard this as well, choosing to write their final, polished thoughts at the end of the session when everything feels like it adds up. Real life therapy, however, doesn't work that way. And real life therapy is exactly what Dr. Wachtel is working to relay to his readers.
—International Journal of Psychotherapy