Supportive psychotherapy may seem unnecessary. Certainly, all forms of psychotherapy should involve some measure of support. In fact, if patients do not find support in their psychotherapy program, there is a reason to recommend that they change therapists. Nevertheless, supportive psychotherapy is a distinct form of therapy that focuses on teaching patients to deal with the stressors of life.
While every person’s individual experience with therapy may be unique, there are four main ways in which supportive psychotherapy differs from other forms of expressive therapy:
- Therapist style: Supportive psychotherapists are warm, open, empathetic, and conversation whereas in expressive therapy the therapists are more likely to be withholding in their effort to help their clients reach their goals
- Treatment goals: Rather than helping resolve a patient’s internal conflicts as in expressive therapy, in supportive psychotherapy, the goal is to help reduce suffering and improve coping skills
- Unconscious issues: While expressive therapy has clients focus on discovering emotional issues that they might not be aware of, supportive psychotherapy addresses conscious issues only
- Transference: Transference basically describes the projection of feelings by the client onto the therapist. In expressive therapy, all forms of transference become the subject of reflection and discussion whereas in supportive psychotherapy, positive transference is actually a goal.
Supportive psychotherapy may be useful in the treatment of substance addiction, especially when used in connection with other therapeutic methods. Supportive psychotherapy can help someone struggling with addiction get more immediate relief, an important step in preventing the progressive disease from growing worse.
The supervised detoxification and residential treatment program at the Asana Recovery Center utilizes a wide variety of different therapy options in order to ensure that the unique and specific needs of each individual patient can be met effectively. Call us at (949) 438-4504 to learn more about our program and facilities today.