Comparing Interpersonal Defense Theory and Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy and Their Views of Sharon’s Case
Keywords:Interpersonal Defense Theory, Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy (IRT), case formulation, insight-oriented interventions, enacted interventions, case study, clinical case study
This paper compares the approaches to Sharon’s case presented in two articles that appear earlier in this module, my paper (Westerman, 2021a), which was based on Interpersonal Defense Theory, and the paper by Critchfield, Dobner-Pereira, and Stucker (2021a), which was based on Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy (IRT). I begin by considering differences in general between the ways in which these two perspectives approach case formulation. I then turn to comparing the formulations of Sharon’s case based on the two perspectives. Among other things, this part of the paper contrasts IRT’s focus on copy processes and the Gift of Love with Interpersonal Defense Theory’s focus on functionalist processes that involve the temporal organization of the parts of noncoordinating defensive interpersonal patterns. The second half of the paper compares the treatment implications of the two approaches in general terms and as they relate to Sharon’s case in particular. Implications for treatment are discussed regarding both insight-oriented interventions and enacted interventions at the level of therapy relationship processes.
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