In a series of papers, the author addresses the needs of students, patients, and practitioners of psychodynamic therapies. The work of these professionals with children and with adults is discussed from a pragmatic point of view, stressing the importance of recognizing the needs and capacities of each individual patient. At the same time, the author focuses on the professional's role in the clinical interaction, emphasizing the need to identify and respect what leads him to the consulting room, and what he expects to obtain from this strenuous and demanding type of work.The evolution of psychodynamic theories has led to its being often defined as a new version of the patient's earliest relationship of dependence on a maternal figure. The author discusses the implications of such a formulation and argues that, however correct it may be when referring to a small number of patients, it is important that, for the majority of cases, the professional should aim to help the patient to find and develop his or her independence and self-sufficiency.

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