Skip to content

Basics of Psychotherapy

A Practical Guide to Improving Clinical Success

Richard B. Makover, M.D.

  • 2017
  • 332 Pages
  • ISBN 978-1-61537-076-4
  • Item #37076

View Pricing

List Price

APA Members

20% off

APA Resident-Fellow Members

25% off

Buying In Canada or Europe?


Today's psychotherapists come from many disciplines—psychiatry, psychology, social work, psychiatric nursing, and a variety of counseling professions—but they are united by a common goal: to deliver an effective therapeutic service to those in need. Psychotherapy texts usually focus on a single methodology or perhaps survey a variety of treatments. What many clinicians may need instead is an examination of the core principles, ideas, and practices that underlie and unify the hundreds of therapies in current use. Basics of Psychotherapy meets this need with a thorough examination of these common elements and of how they function to promote successful outcomes.

The challenges to successful practice have never been greater: the demand for psychotherapy services often outstrips the supply, third-party and government payers continue to call for lower costs, computer-based therapies threaten to compete with human resources, and clinicians of all types confront the illusory appeal of using drugs to achieve quick fixes. In this difficult environment, successful practitioners must provide efficient and effective therapeutic results.

Each central chapter takes up a fundamental topic and examines it in detail:

  • What is psychotherapy?
  • What is the psychotherapy relationship?
  • What is an initial evaluation?
  • What is a formulation?
  • What is a treatment plan?

Other chapters review the essential technical aspects common to any psychotherapy and provide valuable advice on how to deal with typical clinical challenges. Throughout the book, Dr. Makover emphasizes the importance of the therapeutic alliance—what it is, what supports it, how to maintain it, how to repair it when necessary—and the collaborative partnership between therapist and patient that must exist for any treatment to succeed. The book concludes with a discussion of career development and of how self-directed learning can build a collection of skills and capacities that will meet every practice challenge. Clinicians who understand the foundations of psychotherapy covered in this book will be more efficient and effective, regardless of which approach they chose to employ.

Basics of Psychotherapy is written in a clear, straightforward style that reads easily and conveys its ideas with engaging simplicity. Every point is skillfully illustrated by clinical examples. Scripted excerpts of therapy sessions not only reproduce the dialogue; they also contain notes and commentary that explain exactly what is happening between therapist and patient. Tables and illustrations summarize the topics explained in the text. This practical and up-to-date book should be of use to the beginning therapist and the experienced clinician alike.


  • Preface
  • Chapter 1. What Is This Book About?
  • Chapter 2. What Is Psychotherapy?
  • Chapter 3. What Is the Psychotherapy Relationship?
  • Chapter 4. What Is an Initial Evaluation?
  • Chapter 5. What Is a Formulation?
  • Chapter 6. What Is a Treatment Plan?
  • Chapter 7. What Is Communication?
  • Chapter 8. What Is Collaboration?
  • Chapter 9. What Is an Autodidact?
  • Chapter 10. What Is the Sum and Substance?
  • Chapter 11. Suggested Reading
  • Index

About the Authors

Richard B. Makover, M.D., is a Lecturer at the Yale School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry.

Related Products

Become an APA Member
Join Now