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Keywords:

  • psychotherapy process;
  • psychodynamic-interpersonal;
  • cognitive-behavioral;
  • therapist activity

The present article is a review of the comparative psychotherapy process literature. It is an effort to delineate techniques and processes that distinguish two prominent forms of treatment. Seven interventions stood out as distinguishing psychodynamic-interpersonal therapy from cognitive-behavioral treatment: (1) a focus on affect and the expression of patients’ emotions; (2) an exploration of patients’ attempts to avoid topics or engage in activities that hinder the progress of therapy; (3) the identification of patterns in patients’ actions, thoughts, feelings, experiences, and relationships; (4) an emphasis on past experiences; (5) a focus on a patients’ interpersonal experiences; (6) an emphasis on the therapeutic relationship; and (7) an exploration of patients’ wishes, dreams, or fantasies. A better understanding of the specific techniques and processes that distinguish psychodynamic-interpersonal from cognitive-behavioral therapy can facilitate process-outcome research, aid in the training and teaching of psychodynamic-interpersonal psychotherapy, and provide psychodynamic-interpersonal therapists with a guide for session activity.