The First Interview
The psychodynamic reader will appreciate the combination of dread and delight experienced during the writing of this chapter: delight to focus on such an important, yet relatively neglected phase of therapy, its initiation, and fear because there are so many different factors to consider when studying therapists’ tasks within the first interview. Furthermore, I have always identified as an integrationist with no particular allegiance to psychodynamic theory. Motivated by these conflicting feelings, I reviewed theory and research on the conduct of the first interview of brief therapy and brief psychodynamic psychotherapy. As the psychodynamic brief therapy literature is extensive, and brief psychotherapy research is wide ranging and complex, this was an ambitious undertaking. Furthermore, as any psychotherapy process researcher knows all too well, there is scant support for linking a single therapist task or technique with positive therapy outcome (Bergin & Garfield, 1994). Still, expert clinicians and sophisticated therapy researchers continue to believe in the clinical significance of certain therapeutic tasks.