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Relationships, Emotions, and Defenses Among Patients with Substance Use Disorders, Assessed with Karolinska Psychodynamic Profile: Possibilities to use Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy in Substance Abuse Treatment

Journal article
Authors Elisabeth Punzi
Karin Lindgren
Published in Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly
Volume 37
Issue 4
Pages 481-496
ISSN 0734-7324
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 481-496
Language en
Keywords Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP), Karolinska Psychodynamic Profile (KAPP), emotion regulation, relationships, assessment, substance abuse treatment
Subject categories Applied Psychology


Substance use disorders (SUDs) are connected to emotional and relational difficulties. Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) aims at supporting emotion regulation and relational capacity through confronting the patient’s defenses. The authors assessed relational capacity, emotion regulation, and defenses in nine patients with severe SUD and a history of childhood maltreatment, using the semistructured method Karolinska Psychodynamic Profile. All participants had difficulties in handling interpersonal dependence and separations. Functioning in other areas varied. ISTDP could be useful in substance abuse treatment. Thorough assessment before starting ISTDP is however recommended so that treatment is planned according to the patients’ level of functioning.

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