Molnos, A. (1998): A psychotherapist's harvest

The diagram of


Copyright © 1983 by Angela Molnos
London, June 1983

I. The meaning of the notations


T = therapist or transference
C = current relationship(s). The exploration of the problem starts here!
P = past, early relationships (usually parents, siblings, but also others)

4 = triangle of person
D = defence (against A + X)
A = anxiety (about X)
X = true feeling: negative (-X), positive (+X), or ambivalent (X); unknown to the therapist and the patient who "hid" it because unacceptable or frightening or too painful. The strongest confrontation is here!


1, 2, 3 = triangle of conflict
1 =
the original (internal) conflict in relation to significant persons in the remote past; this conflict is now emotionally buried and has to be revived;
2 = conflict in relation to other important persons in current life; this conflict is more present than 1, but less than 3, which is alive in the session;
3 = conflict in relation to the therapist: this conflict is the most vivid and threatening
because it is in the here-and-now.


Note: The diagram can be coloured or black and white. Accordingly the surfaces of the four triangles can be: (1) pale yellow or pale grey; (2) orange or dark grey; (3) flame red or black; (4) blue or white.



II. The process of brief dynamic psychotherapy step by step


The therapist

a) explores the problem and probes for true feelings (XC);

b) actively challenges any defensive move (DC and especially DT) until all defences are exhausted and the true feeling (mostly -XT at first) is experienced and expressed in the here-and/now;

c) acknowledges the patient's anxiety (AT) in the here-and-now after the true feeling or impulse is de-repressed, released;

d) helps the patient to discover by himself and to acknowledge the same conflict in his current relationship(s) (C) and

e) in relation to his parents and other significant persons in the remote past (P);

f) helps the patient to experience and "see" the TCP-link as fully, as vividly, and as often as possible (= working through, but without letting transference neurosis develop) until such time as the patient's core problem dissolves, neurotic disturbances no longer recur, and therapy can be terminated.

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