Psychopathology stems from traumatic childhood experiences that frequently lead to the development of unconscious pathogenic beliefs. Patients enter psychotherapy with an unconscious plan to disconfirm their pathogenic beliefs. There are three primary ways they can do so: 1) by using the therapeutic relationship per se; 2) by using new knowledge or insight conveyed by the therapist’s interpretations; or 3) by testing the therapist directly. There are two different testing strategies: 1) in a transference test the patient tries to assess whether the therapist will traumatize her as she or he had been traumatized in childhood; 2) in a passive-into-active test, the patient traumatizes the therapist as she or he had been traumatized, as part of her or his effort to master the trauma. Patients are highly motivated to disconfirm their pathogenic beliefs. Typically they must test the therapist throughout the treatment to do so.
Keywords: Control-Mastery Theory; Psychodynamic Theory, Psychotherapy