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, 16 (5), 408-17

Early Change in Defence Mechanisms and Coping in Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy: Relations With Symptoms and Alliance

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Early Change in Defence Mechanisms and Coping in Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy: Relations With Symptoms and Alliance

Ueli Kramer et al. Clin Psychol Psychother.

Abstract

Several patient-related variables have already been investigated as predictors of change in psychodynamic psychotherapy. Defensive functioning is one of them. However, few studies have investigated adaptational processes, encompassing defence mechanisms and coping, from an integrative or comparative viewpoint. This study includes 32 patients, mainly diagnosed with adjustment disorder and undergoing time-limited psychodynamic psychotherapy lasting up to 40 sessions, and will focus on early change in defence and coping. Observer-rater methodology was applied to the transcripts of two sessions of the first part of the psychotherapeutic process. It is assumed that the contextual-relational variable of therapeutic alliance intervenes as moderator on change in adaptational processes. Results corroborated the hypothesis, but only for coping, whereas for defences, overall functioning remained stable over the first 20 sessions of psychotherapy. These results are discussed within the framework of disentangling processes underlying adaptation, i.e., related to issues on trait and state aspects, as well as the role of the therapeutic alliance.

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