Control Mastery is an integrative theory originated by Joe Weiss (1924 – 2004) and further developed and researched by Hal Sampson (1925 -2015) and the many theoreticians associated with SFPRG. It is relational in the assumption that both past and prior learning and change take place in the context of relationships. It is humanistic in the assumption that people are striving for health, it is cognitive in the assumption that unconscious pathogenic beliefs derived from traumatic experience give rise to psychopathology, and it is psychoanalytic in its emphasis on the importance of unconscious processes in sustaining psychopathology and overcoming it through testing of pathogenic beliefs within the transference.

Control Mastery theory emphasizes the cooperative working relationship between therapist and patient to disconfirm his/her pathogenic beliefs. The patient is highly motivated to disconfirm his/her crippling beliefs in order to recover the capacity to pursue life goals. This theoretical orientation is applicable to all types of treatments and patients including analysis, brief psychotherapy, marital, family, child, and crisis work. The way a therapist deals with any type of patient is case specific. It depends on the particular beliefs that the patient has developed, on which belief the patient is working on at a particular time and the patient’s particular way of working. The addition of the research component of Control Mastery offers a unique, and exciting opportunity to clarify the theory and to discover if the data of observation supports or refutes what the theory has taught us to expect.

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