Angela Molnos


A to Z of clinical practice and theoretical issues with special reference to brief forms of psychoanalytically based treatment


Dear internet user,

This home page contains the entire text of my latest manuscript ready for publication. I left it in the same format as it is usually submitted to a publisher. The only modifications are technical adaptations to facilitate its use on the internet. For instance, the long chapter entitled "Pathfinder through the A to Z harvest" has been broken up into a number of files. In the main alphabetic part each of the 450 entries constitutes a separate file and in order to look up any entry you have to return first to the "List of entries". You can do this by clicking on the word "index" at the end of any entry. If you have some suggestions in order to improve these arrangements, please do not hesitate to let us know.

You are welcome to quote from this book providing you acknowledge the source.

Herewith I would like to thank my friends and colleagues, Dr. Dennis Brown for suggesting the title of this book, Cynthia Rogers for her idea that this book should be put on the internet and Csaba Koncz for finding the technical solutions of doing so.

Debrecen, Hungary, 2nd July 1998



Dr. Angela Molnos

Since 16th August 1998. you are the . visitor of this website.

Rovásírás: Hosszú Gábor betűkészlete alapján



Pathfinder through the A to Z harvest

List of entries

The diagram of the four triangles



Rovásírás: Hosszú Gábor betűkészlete alapján






The title "a psychotherapist's harvest" says fairly accurately what this volume is: a series of thoughts by a psychotherapist on her subject. The idea of "harvesting" my thoughts and experiences about analytic psychotherapy came to me in 1992. My initial intention had been to compile a concise dictionary of dynamic psychotherapy, but very soon the format seduced me into using it as a rather pleasant excuse to formulate and write down freely, based on my experiences as a psychotherapist, my personal thoughts about various issues in psychotherapy. The entries grew out of many unpublished notes and talks I had prepared, reconsidered and re-written over the years from 1980. Therefore, the topics reflect my personal line of interest.

Having started compiling this volume in 1993, I soon interrupted the work in order to write another book under the title "A question of time: essentials of brief dynamic psychotherapy", which appeared in 1995. The latter had to have priority because of the many requests for copies of the talks I had given and on which that book is based. The reader familiar with "A question of time" will find its main ideas included here as well.

Since I first thought about writing this volume many dictionaries of psychotherapy have been published. This is not one of them in the proper sense of the term "dictionary", but a collection of mini-essays in alphabetic order with cross references.

There are various features which make this neither a dictionary nor an encyclopaedia. The list of entries has not been systematically selected and is not intended to be complete. None of the entries pretends to be exhaustive. Each of them contains only some of the pertinent ideas, the ones I personally found interesting, exciting, puzzling or having greater importance than they are generally given.

Some entries contain one or two short paragraphs only, while others take up ten and more. The uneven length reflects the subjective and highly practical character of the volume and does not relate to the topics' relative significance. For instance, the entry on "repression", which is one of the cornerstones of psychoanalytic theory, is only fifteen lines long. This topic is treated exhaustively by many authors, including in textbooks and dictionaries of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy and counselling so that it would have been redundant for me to write more about it than I did. By contrast there is another longer entry under the heading "factual questions", which is unlikely to figure in a proper dictionary. I had a point to make about this which is not necessarily spelt out in the literature and yet is relevant for the daily practice of psychotherapy.

Unless in quotation marks, the definitions of concepts and terms are my own and others might contest them. Having stressed so far the subjective character of this work and its nearly arbitrary composition, I have to add that in everything I wrote I tried to be as truthful and accurate as I can. I only wrote what my experience as a psychotherapist taught me to be right. Furthermore, I wished to convey to the reader my love for the subject matter, both theoretical and practical.

The 450 entries are preceded by a special chapter called "Pathfinder through the A to Z harvest" addressed to all those who are new to the subject and who want to read this volume as a textbook or simply wish to dip into it and explore particular areas. To form this chapter 55 entries have been selected as constituting the conceptual backbone of psychoanalytically based psychotherapies. They are labelled "pathfinder entries". A more detailed version of them can be found in the alphabetic part of the volume, where each is followed by a reference to the next pathfinder entry and references to other related entries. Thus, the reader should be able to make a systematic study of the entire subject by going through the pathfinder entries, actively exploring the concepts related to each and returning to the next pathfinder entry. It is hoped that this arrangement will also facilitate the study of a particular area of interest in the preferred sequence without having to read the whole book first.

In the entry "writer's block" I suggest that it is more important to bear in mind to whom one writes than to concentrate on what one writes. The latter flows naturally, effortlessly if one knows who the reader is. So, since to compile this collection of mini-essays was easy and enjoyable, whom did I have so firmly in my mind? The reader I thought of is sensitive, intelligent and knowledgeable without necessarily being a scholar. She, or perhaps he, has read a couple of books on psychology and psychotherapy, is interested to clarify a few ideas, and wants to understand the therapist as well as the patient.

As I have not assumed specialist knowledge, I made every effort to write in plain language and to avoid using scientific jargon. Sometimes technical terms appear (e.g. "aversive techniques" in the entry on behavioural therapy) which are not explained any further. The reader interested in the meaning of such words will have to resort to one of the dictionaries listed before the main bibliography.

For simplicity's sake, I use the masculine pronouns (he, him, his) for a patient or group member, when not talking specifically about a female patient. The neutral pronouns (it, its) are used for a baby or young child of either sex. The feminine pronouns (she, her, hers) are used for the therapist or the group conductor throughout the text. 

Debrecen, Hungary, August 1998



Dr. Angela Molnos