Jefferson Journal of Psychiatry


Early in my first year of residency training in psychiatry, while working between acute-care inpatient units and a busy crisis service, it appeared that virtually every patient was said to have been treated with supportive psychotherapy, in conjunction with psychotropic medication. This appearance was deceiving, and if not for thorough supervision, reading, discussion with faculty and peers, and autocritical review, I might still believe that my earliest, and perhaps sickest, patients were indeed treated with supportive psychotherapy. In retrospect, some were and some were not; the explanation for this discrepancy came with the realization that I did not have very clear ideas about the nature of supportive psychotherapy, its indications and contraindications, its technical practice, its efficacy, or its derivation from psychoanalytic theory. Without this knowledge, I could not practice supportive psychotherapy.

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