Supportive psychotherapy

A type of therapy in which the therapist-patient relationship is used to help patients cope with specific crises or difficulties that they are currently facing. Supportive therapy avoids, rather than encourages, the development of a transference neurosis. It employs a range of techniques, depending on the patient’s strengths and weaknesses and the particular problems that are currently distressing. These techniques include listening in a sympathetic, concerned, understanding, and nonjudgmental fashion; providing factual information that may counter a patient’s unrealistic fears; setting limits and encouraging the patient to control or relinquish self-destructive behavior and to give attention to more constructive action; and facilitating discharge of and relief from painful feelings within the controlled environment of the consultation room.

A type of psychotherapy that aims to reinforce a patient’s defenses and help suppress disturbing psychological material. Supportive psychotherapy utilizes such measures as inspiration, re-assurance, suggestion, persuasion, counseling, and re-education. It avoids probing the patient’s emotional conflicts in depth.