The unified model of personality-guided relational therapy was developed by Jeffrey J. Magnavita, a theorist/clinician who has developed various models of psychotherapy including Short-Term Restructuring Psychotherapy (STRP). STRP is primarily concerned with intrapsychic and dyadic process was based on the pioneering work of Habib Davanloo, David Malan, Wilhelm Reich, and other figures of the Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy movement, as well as self-psychological and objects relations theory and methods. Later, he developed a model termed Integrative Relational Psychotherapy (IRP), which added an additional triangular configuration based on the work of Ludwig von Bertalanffy, Murray Bowen, Nathan Ackerman, Salvador Minuchin, and other pioneering figures of family therapy.
Most recently, Dr. Magnavita has developed an evolving model of emotional dynamic psychotherapy, personality theory and psychopathology based on an examination of processes and structures at four levels of the personality system. These are embedded subsystems which move from the microscopic to the macroscopic level of organization. There are four matrices which can be addressed using a unified approach:
Dysfunctional personality adaptations are caused by traumata, developmental insults, and multigenerational transmission processes which are nonmetabolized and create multi-systemic problems in adaptation. One of the primary connections among the subsystems is the affective processes that occur at the intrapsychic, dyadic, triadic, familial, and societal levels. Methods of restructuring these dysfunctioning subsystems are selected from an array of techniques based upon the level of differentiation and integration among the various component subsystems (i.e., defensive-affective-cognitive, attachment system, neurobiological system, relational system).
Modalities of therapy are selected and combined, when indicated, to enhance the potency of the treatment by intervening at the various fulcrum points within a system. Thus, a tipping point can be achieved whereby the system reorganizes at a new level of function and process which is more adaptive.
Jeffrey J. Magnavita. Ph.D., ABPP can be contacted at: MagnaPsych@aol.com.