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J Consult Clin Psychol. 1997 Oct;65(5):740-8.

A comparative analysis of the therapeutic focus in cognitive-behavioral and psychodynamic-interpersonal sessions.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, SUNY at Stony Brook 11794-2500, USA.


This study compared therapeutic foci in a sampling of 30 cognitive-behavioral and 27 psychodynamic-interpersonal manual-driven treatments for depression. High- and low-impact sessions were coded for each client, with the Coding System of Therapeutic Focus. Results indicated that psychodynamic-interpersonal sessions focused more on such variables as emotion, patterns, incongruities, the impact that others made on clients, clients' expected reaction of others, the tendency to avoid therapeutic progress, therapists themselves, clients' parents, and links between people and time periods in clients' lives. Cognitive-behavioral sessions placed greater emphasis on external circumstances and clients' ability to make decisions, gave more support and information and encouraged between-session experiences, and focused more on the future. Relatively few differences emerged as a function of session impact. Results are discussed in terms of the different and similar theoretical conceptions of the change process.

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