Get Alert
Please Wait... Processing your request... Please Wait.
You must sign in to sign-up for alerts.

Please confirm that your email address is correct, so you can successfully receive this alert.

Article   |    
Am J Psychiatry 1958;114:719-726.
text A A A
PDF of the full text article.

The common factor in all psychotherapeutic relations is admittedly the emotional relation between therapist and patient. In scrutinizing this factor, we encountered artfulness, the application of scientific technology which involves certain psychologic overtones of extra-technical nature operating within the therapist. The elements constituting artfulness involve, on one hand, the psychology of the therapist, and on the other, the psychology of the therapeutic process itself. The operational complex, identified with artfulness, resides in the application of a skill, i.e., is extra-technical and applies to all healers whatever their original postulates, premises, or theories of psychotherapy. This complex involves essentially conative impulses and insinuates a sense of assurance to the therapist which invades his critical judgment toward the efficacy, the "science," of the theoretical foundation of his method.Successful therapy is initially recognized as dependent on the technology stemming from the scientific hypotheses advanced. Judgment concerning the scientific hypothesis which underlies every method of psychotherapy lies under the shadow of the operational complex which has been identified with artfulness. Later the efficacy of a treatment method diminishes: that degree of success, not attributable to the specific scientific theory and its technology, is recognized as due to artfulness. The intrusion of the conative influence and other unconscious forces—magical thinking, omnipotence fantasies, narcissistic satisfaction, symbolic expression, etc., bears on a scientific judgment of the method in question, e.g., the verification of interpretations in psychoanalytic treatment. To explain how therapy works at all in successful cases, one must accept the extra-technical elements involved. This is suggested as the most plausible way to explain successful therapy when conducted by workers who point to the most diverse scientific theories and formulations as a valid basis for their accomplishments.

Abstract Teaser
Figures in this Article

Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.
Sign In Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.
Sign In to Access Full Content
Sign in via Athens (What is this?)
Athens is a service for single sign-on which enables access to all of an institution's subscriptions on- or off-site.
Not a subscriber?

Subscribe Now/Learn More

PsychiatryOnline subscription options offer access to the DSM-5 library, books, journals, CME, and patient resources. This all-in-one virtual library provides psychiatrists and mental health professionals with key resources for diagnosis, treatment, research, and professional development.

Need more help? PsychiatryOnline Customer Service may be reached by emailing PsychiatryOnline@psych.org or by calling 800-368-5777 (in the U.S.) or 703-907-7322 (outside the U.S.).




CME Activity

There is currently no quiz available for this resource. Please click here to go to the CME page to find another.
Submit a Comments
Please read the other comments before you post yours. Contributors must reveal any conflict of interest.
Comments are moderated and will appear on the site at the discertion of APA editorial staff.

* = Required Field
(if multiple authors, separate names by comma)
Example: John Doe

Web of Science® Times Cited: 7

Related Content
Gabbard's Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders, 4th Edition > Chapter 55.  >
Gabbard's Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders, 4th Edition > Chapter 55.  >
Gabbard's Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders, 4th Edition > Chapter 55.  >
Textbook of Psychotherapeutic Treatments > Chapter 15.  >
Gabbard's Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders, 4th Edition > Chapter 50.  >
Topic Collections
Psychiatric News
APA Guidelines
PubMed Articles
Archaic introjects and the cosmology of H.G. Wells. J Am Psychoanal Assoc 1982;30(2):487-508.