Critical Issues in Psychiatry ° Series Editor: Sherwyn M. Woods





by David M. Allen, M.D.


" of the most important characteristics of a psychotherapist is the ability to tolerate ambiguity …In this volume, Allen has undertaken the task of helping the reader to recognize ambiguity in all of its manifestations, to understand it better, and, having understood it, to help the patient to grow beyond it... This book is valuable because it aids the therapist in deciphering the ambiguities and, by doing so, furthering the success of the treatment."


-from the foreword by George Stricker


In Deciphering Motivation in Psychotherapy, David M. Allen describes how to analyze language and other related patient behavior in order to reveal hidden motivational conflicts and uncover family system dynamics. He explores:

Allen utilizes a model of intrapsychic conflict that is useful for therapists following an integrated, psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, or family systems model. Case studies are included to illustrate how this knowledge can be applied in private practice.



Part One: The Dialectics of Motivation

1. Language and intention: the cooperative principle; assessment of' the intentions of others; behavioral cues; the search for behavioral cues.

2. Mixed motivation and language: the dialectical perspective; the dialectics of motivation; the dialectics of language; universal grammar.

3. Ambiguity: types of ambiguity; motivation ambiguity; the semantics of intrapsychic conflict; responses to ambiguity; the semantics of the game without end.

4. Selfishness and altruism: the paradox of American individualism; altruism masquerading as selfishness; mortification.

5. Distancing: the evolution of social roles; parent-child distancing; role function support.


Part Two: Deciphering Motivation in Therapy

  1. Deciphering motivation in psychotherapy: recognizing hidden double meanings; verifying the hypothesis; presentation of hypothesis.


  2. Case examples: Statements as behavior cues


  3. Case examples: the language of self-suppression: altruism masked as selfishness; the language of mortification.


  4. Case examples: the language of role function ambivalence: ambivalence - self expectations; ambivalence - expectations of others; the language of distancing; closing comment



DAVID M. ALLEN is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director of Psychiatric Residency Training at the University of Tennessee, Memphis.

1991 187 pages HARD COVER


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