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This article, part of a special section on the Relational Foundations of Psychotherapy, describes a particular relational approach called cyclical psychodynamics. Cyclical psychodynamics is rooted both in the relational perspective in psychoanalysis and in an integrative melding of psychodynamic, cognitive–behavioral, systemic, and experiential points of view. Central to its theoretical structure is a focus on the vicious and virtuous circles that perpetuate (or contribute to changing) personality patterns that may have originated in childhood but that persist because they often generate the very feedback from others that is necessary to keep them going. As a consequence of this latter focus, the relational foundation of cyclical psychodynamic therapy addresses in equal and dynamically reciprocal fashion both the therapeutic relationship in the consulting room and the key relationships outside the consulting room that play an essential role in the maintenance or change of the problematic patterns the person has come to therapy to work on.

Keywords: psychotherapy, relational psychoanalysis, psychotherapy integration, integrative psychotherapy, cyclical psychodynamics

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Cite This Article

Wachtel, P. L. (2014). An integrative relational point of view. Psychotherapy, 51(3), 342-349. doi: 10.1037/a0037219



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