Short-term or Brief CounselingTherapy and the Current Mental Health System

3048 Words 13 Pages
Short-term or Brief CounselingTherapy and the Current Mental Health System


“Short-term” or “Brief Counseling/Therapy” and the current mental health system seem to be inexorably linked for at least the foreseeable future. This paper discusses the history, objectives, appropriate clientele, efficacy, and the other benefits, and short comings, of this therapeutic/counseling modality and its relevance to my present career direction, College Counseling. Cognitive-behavioral, Psychodynamic, and Gestalt applications of brief therapy/counseling methods will be addressed.

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Short-term therapy and counseling have consistently proven to be a powerful, efficient, and effective approach for resolving human emotional and behavioral problems, and it is a major force in the field of psychotherapy and counseling today (Saposnek, 1984). Although the overwhelming emphasis on brief counseling/therapy in the mental health system is a relatively recent phenomenon, the concept itself is at least as old as Freud. Freud originally viewed psychoanalysis as a research tool that had powerful therapeutic applications.
Although he tried to limit his early analysis to six to twelve months, he had hoped that in time it would be superseded by more efficient methods (Saposnek, 1984; Nugent, 1994; Phillips, 1985).
According to Small (1979), “Historically, it is clear that Freud first sought a quick cure; when he began he could not foresee the developments that would lengthen the psychoanalytic process.” Who would have believed that Freud would have preferred a brief therapy over the open-ended, time- unlimited therapy process that classical psychoanalysis had become. Social changes brought on by the pressures of World War II led to a great demand for short- term interventions. “The stress-related emergencies of World War II necessitated the development of early forms of crisis intervention aimed at