In addition to Dr. Sandler's clinical work and teaching, he also has published two books on psychotherapy and a new novel, The Age of Worry.
Tea with Freud: An Imaginary Conversation about How Psychotherapy Really Works
by Steven B. Sandler, M.D.
Publication Date: March 28, 2016
Why are you so worried and anxious? Why are you so relentlessly critical of yourself? Why do you repeatedly get involved with the wrong people? Can psychotherapy help with these matters? And if so, how does it help? Tea with Freud is an invitation to go behind the closed door of the psychotherapist’s office to get an insider’s look at common emotional problems and their treatment. Listen to the verbatim dialogue of actual people in therapy, and learn about an effective approach to resolving their difficulties. Visit with Sigmund Freud himself in turn-of-the-century Vienna, and hear an imaginary but illuminating debate with Freud about what helps people to make changes and recover their psychological health. You may be surprised to learn that the answers to many psychological struggles can still be found in Freud’s original ideas, as well as in modern findings from psychology, child development, and memory research.
Part case study, part fiction, this book is a readable, entertaining introduction to some of the most important ideas—old and new—in the field of psychotherapy. It will change the way you think about the nature of emotions, the root of emotional suffering, and the effectiveness of modern “talk therapy.”
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(Available in paperback and Kindle)
Remembering with Emotion in Dynamic Psychotherapy: New Directions in Theory and Technique
by Steven B. Sandler, M.D.
Publication Date: 2012
This book takes a new look at dynamic psychotherapy, from its most basic theory to the furthest limits of its capabilities. It invites the reader to re-examine a few of the most basic concepts underlying the practice of psychotherapy. What is emotion? What is a defense mechanism? It begins with emotion theory, an area of academic study that has traditionally been neglected in psychotherapy training programs. Throughout the book, it is argued that the patient's experience of emotion is critical for a successful outcome in therapy, and that the therapist's understanding of emotion will provide a solid theoretical foundation for practice. Attachment theory is also used extensively throughout the book. Case examples offer interventions that are designed to translate the theory into practical applications. In the middle chapters of the book, these basic ideas (emotion theory and attachment theory) are applied in an extended case example, using ample segments of verbatim dialogue.
Memory theory is used to explain some of the treatment failures in dynamic psychotherapy. Memory theory can lead to a revised approach that provides more durable outcomes. Dynamic psychotherapy has largely been a therapy of bad memories, therefore, a systematic approach to focusing on positive memories of early attachment experiences is outlined. We must not only help the patient to face negative memories of his past; we must also help revive and strengthen positive memories until they have "trace dominance" over negative ones.
Finally, the possibility that dynamic psychotherapy can lead to spiritual growth is explored. Early parent-child experiences of oneness can serve as the developmental precursors of the spiritual experience. Some of the child development literature, including Mahler's notion of "symbiosis" is reviewed. Some preliminary work with patients is presented, in which they are invited to broaden their new emotional connection with a parent (and others) until it leads to a greater sense of spiritual connection.
"This wonderful work shows how the direct experience of emotion and emotional transformation is the key to healing in psychotherapy. Sandler offers some novel hypotheses about working with emotion. He shows us how to work with constricting and expanding emotion and defenses against these and how to change negative memories with positive attachment memories. This is a book from which you can learn how a therapist actually does therapy. It is easy to read and appropriate for beginners as well as experienced practitioners."
- Leslie S. Greenberg, York University
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(Available in hardcover and electronically)