18 Brief Psychotherapies
Published Online: 26 SEP 2012
Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved.
Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition
How to Cite
Messer, S. B., Sanderson, W. C. and Gurman, A. S. 2012. Brief Psychotherapies. Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition. 8:II:18.
- Published Online: 26 SEP 2012
Brief therapy is by far the most frequently employed kind of therapy in the United States, with fewer than 10% of clients receiving more than 20 sessions. Brief and effective therapy typically relies on six features or techniques of practice: (1) client selection, (2) formulation of an individualized clinical focus, (3) a deliberate time limit (or sensitivity to time) that sets in motion therapist and patient expectancies as to when change will occur, (4) active techniques, (5) attention to the termination stage, and (6) goal setting that requires setting priorities so that time is used efficiently. This chapter describes six brief therapies, each stemming from a different theoretical tradition: psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, couple/family systems, experiential, strategic, and integrative. The models are described under the following headings: Historical Introduction, Selection Criteria (including diagnosis, problems treated, and focus), Techniques of the Therapy, Theory of Change, Supporting Research, and Current Trends and Future Directions. In general, there is good empirical support for several of the therapies covered. One current prominent trend in the field of brief therapy, as in the field of psychotherapy in general, is the integration of techniques drawn from one therapy and assimilated into another.
- brief therapy;
- short-term therapy;
- time-limited therapy;