Although supportive psychotherapy has had a long history in our field, relatively little attention has been paid to defining a body of material that residents should be taught in order to fulfill our current educational mandate. Teaching the evidence base for the efficacy of supportive psychotherapy is reviewed. The article then discusses three different conceptualizations of supportive psychotherapy—as comprising the fundamental elements of all psychotherapies, as one end of a spectrum of dynamic therapies, and as a distinct set of directly helpful therapeutic interventions. The importance of each of these perspectives to an integrated model of supportive therapy is discussed in the context of the teaching and training needs of psychiatric health professionals.
Keywords: education, psychotherapy, support, therapy, psychiatric health professionals.