Relational focal therapy: an integrative psychodynamic approach

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Few models have proposed specific strategies that implement psychodynamic theoretical–clinical concepts in treatments striving to comply with the growing public demands for effectiveness. The present article proposes a therapeutic approach that integrates theoretical concepts for interpreting patients’ experiences from three of the more influential and relevant of these models, while adopting relational principles for organising the therapy structure and the therapists’ line of interventions. The approach proposed has been formulated through an academic clinical course for dynamically oriented social workers from community mental health centres. In this approach, a focus is formulated by both therapists and patients, serving as an interpretational framework for patients coping with a current challenge, to be used throughout the whole therapy or during one of its stages. The proposed approach is not limited to specific patient populations or to brief therapies, but is nevertheless committed to effectiveness in achieving the therapy goals. A clinical example is presented to illuminate the principles of the approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-337
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Social Work Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 GAPS.


  • Focus
  • effectiveness
  • goals
  • psychodynamic
  • relational

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Drug guides


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