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Psychotherapy--the transformation of meanings: discussion paper.

Publication Date
  • Research Article
  • Medicine


This paper presents the hypothesis that psychotherapy seeks to produce changes in attitudes and behaviour through transformation of meanings. Patients come to psychotherapy because they are demoralized by the menacing meanings of their symptoms. The psychotherapist collaborates with the patient in formulating a plausible story that makes the meanings of the symptoms more benign and provides procedures for combating them, thereby enabling the patient to regain his morale. As a result, he feels better and functions more effectively, leading to progressive improvement. Various implications and limitations of this hypothesis are explored.

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