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Changes of defensive functioning: Does interpretation predict change? Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy 12: 288-296

Author(s): Hersoug AG, Bogwald KP, Hoglend P


Patient and therapist characteristics were explored as predictors of the use of defence interpretation in non-manualized brief dynamic therapy (N = 38, max 40 sessions). Therapist interventions were rated with the Psychodynamic Intervention Rating Scale in an early session (7th) and in the mid-phase of therapy (16th session). Low quality of patients' interpersonal relationships (rated with Dynamic Scales) was associated with more interpretation early in the therapy. Therapists with greater experience gave more interpretation. The combination of more maladaptive defensive functioning (rated with Defence Mechanism Rating Scales) and low quality of working alliance was associated with a high proportion of interpretation. Differences between individual therapists accounted for 35% of the variance in interpretation early in therapy and 42% in the mid-phase. Therapists gave significantly more interpretation in the mid-phase compared to early in the therapy.

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