Understanding Psychotherapy: The Science Behind the Art.

Understanding Psychotherapy: The Science Behind the Art. – book reviews

Linda Simon

Understanding Psychotherapy: The Science Behind the Art (Basic Books, $19.95) may be a helpful companion to those undergoing, or considering, treatment.

Basch, strongly Freudian in his background, states at the outset that no “generally useful theory of psychotherapy [has] been developed since Freud’s time.” He attempts to confirm Freudian tenets with clear explanations of biochemical changes in the brain and nervous system that account for certain kinds of behavior.

Most of the book, however, is devoted to discussions of typical problems that a therapist might confront in patients, including borderline personality disorders. He gives us transcripts of conversations between the patient and therapist and interrupts these conversations to analyze the therapist’s goals and techniques.

Basch’s strenght lies in his accessibility and his careful, detailed explanations of such psychological terms as defense mechanisms, transference and affective reaction. Basch’s ability to demystify the process of psychotherapy and the forms of treatment available to patients no doubt will be reassuring to readers for whom psychotherapy seems not so much science or art but magic.

COPYRIGHT 1989 Sussex Publishers, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group