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Interpersonal psychoanalysis is based on the theories of Harry Stack Sullivan, an American psychiatrist who believed that the details of patient's interpersonal interactions with others provided insight into the causes and cures of mental disorder.
Sullivan argued that patients keep many aspects of interpersonal relationships out of their awareness by selective inattention. He felt that it is important for psychotherapists to conduct a detailed inquiry into patient's interactions with others so that patients would become optimally aware of their interpersonal patterns.
Unlike classical psychoanalysts, interpersonal analysts focus on asking patients detailed questions about their moment-to-moment interactions with others, including the analyst.
- Sullivan, H. S. (1953). The interpersonal theory of psychiatry. New York: Norton.
- Evans, F. Barton (1996). Harry Stack Sullivan: Interpersonal Theory and Psychotherapy. London: Routledge.
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