Brief therapy: All you need is now

Well, I have started my second year on the course.  The marking of the passage of time, a new calender year, a new academic year, a new supervision group and a new year tutor was a bit unsettling but such is the nature of change.  My new year tutor started the new academic year off with an exercise on brief therapy, essentially how we would structure a course of short term therapy with a client, supposing that short term therapy was the only option. His preamble to the session was that there is only “now”.  For him, he marvels every day he wakes up. Very existential.

Applying this to psychotherapy, he reminded us that all the theory and all the knowledge can lose its importance when you close the door and sit with a client.  Whilst the theory can give us confidence as a therapist there is also the danger that we can mistakenly try to fit square pegs into round holes. Not knowing is best, or being in the mystery. Indeed, Erickson apparently said that a new psychology was needed every time one meets with a new client.

It was a useful exercise in group work to devise a strategy for a short term course of treatment as it challenged us to think creatively about strategies and options.  We were tasked as a group to tackle the philosophical question of whether we worked in a person centred approach or a more structured way. Essentially my group were agreed on the need for goals setting and to keep the sessions tight so that there was little opportunity for wandering. This was in keeping with CBT techniques with daily and weekly tasks, thought monitoring and goals setting and reviews.

My year tutor made a few other interesting statements.  He said that there is no guarantee there will be another session if you are contracted to a long term client.  Every session should be treated as if it might be the last session. He also stated that there is no evidence that suggests the more you invest the more benefit you get from therapy.

We will discuss the findings next week as a group.

Resources
Existentialism 
CBT
Brief therapy provider
Short term psychotherapy