Self psychology, object relations theory and supportive psychotherapy

P. Buckley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


In contrast to insight-oriented psychotherapy, comparatively little attention has been given to developing a clinical theory of supportive psychotherapy. Both self psychology and some aspects of object relations theory posit concepts of therapeutic action that are useful for understanding both the technique and the therapeutic efficacy of supportive psychotherapy. The nature of the therapeutic relationship and its use in the treatment situation is central to this perspective. The therapist functions as a 'good object' who, wherever possible, maintains the positive transference and ensures the 'safety' of the therapeutic situation. Over time, the patient internalizes aspects of the good-object relationship with the therapist and this process is a crucial element in effecting the extensive positive therapeutic change that can take place with supportive psychotherapy. Theoretical aspects of these central elements of supportive psychotherapy are further elaborated in this paper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-529
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican journal of psychotherapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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