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Brief psychotherapy (also brief therapy, planned short-term therapy)is an umbrella term for a variety of approaches to short-term, solution-oriented psychotherapy.
Brief therapy differs from other schools of therapy in that it emphasizes (1) a focus on a specific problem and (2) direct intervention. In brief therapy, the therapist takes responsibility for working more pro-actively with the client in order to treat clinical and subjective conditions faster. It also emphasizes precise observation, utilization of natural resources, and a temporary suspension of disbelief to consider new perspectives and multiple viewpoints.
Rather than the formal analysis of historical causes of distress, the primary approach of brief therapy is to help the client to view the present from a wider context and to utilize more functional understandings (not necessarily at a conscious level). By becoming aware of these new understandings, successful clients will de facto undergo spontaneous and generative change.
Brief therapy is often highly strategic, exploratory, and solution-based rather than problem-oriented. It is less concerned with how a problem arose than with the current factors sustaining it and preventing change. Brief therapists do not adhere to one "correct" approach, but rather accept that there being many paths, any of them may or may not, in combination, turn out to be ultimately beneficial.
Milton Erickson was a practitioner of brief therapy, using clinical hypnosis as his primary tool. To a great extent he developed this himself. His approach was popularized by Jay Haley, in the book Uncommon therapy: The psychiatric techniques of Milton Erickson M.D.
The analogy Erickson uses is that of a person who wants to change the course of a river. if he opposes the river by trying to block it, the river will merely go over and around him. But if he accepts the force of the river and diverts it in a new direction, the force of the river will cut a new channel.
Richard Bandler, the co-founder of neuro-linguistic programming, is another firm proponent of brief therapy. After many years of studying Erickson's therapeutic work, he wrote:
It's easier to cure a phobia in ten minutes than in five years ... I didn't realize that the speed with which you do things makes them last ... I taught people the phobia cure. They'd do part of it one week, part of it the next, and part of it the week after. Then they'd come to me and say "It doesn't work!" If, however, you do it in five minutes, and repeat it till it happens very fast, the brain understands. That's part of how the brain learns ... I discovered that the human mind does not learn slowly. It learns quickly. I didn't know that.
Hypnotherapy is a type of alternative medicine in which hypnosis is used to create a state of focused attention and increased suggestibility during which positive suggestions and guided imagery are used to help individuals deal with a variety of concerns and issues.
Psychotherapy is the use of psychological methods, particularly when based on regular personal interaction with adults, to help a person change behavior and overcome problems in desired ways. Psychotherapy aims to improve an individual's well-being and mental health, to resolve or mitigate troublesome behaviors, beliefs, compulsions, thoughts, or emotions, and to improve relationships and social skills. There is also a range of psychotherapies designed for children and adolescents, which typically involve play, such as sandplay. Certain psychotherapies are considered evidence-based for treating some diagnosed mental disorders. Others have been criticized as pseudoscience.
Group psychotherapy or group therapy is a form of psychotherapy in which one or more therapists treat a small group of clients together as a group. The term can legitimately refer to any form of psychotherapy when delivered in a group format, including Art therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy, but it is usually applied to psychodynamic group therapy where the group context and group process is explicitly utilized as a mechanism of change by developing, exploring and examining interpersonal relationships within the group.
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is a pseudoscientific approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in California, United States, in the 1970s. NLP's creators claim there is a connection between neurological processes (neuro-), language (linguistic) and behavioral patterns learned through experience (programming), and that these can be changed to achieve specific goals in life. Bandler and Grinder also claim that NLP methodology can "model" the skills of exceptional people, allowing anyone to acquire those skills. They claim as well that, often in a single session, NLP can treat problems such as phobias, depression, tic disorders, psychosomatic illnesses, near-sightedness, allergy, the common cold, and learning disorders. NLP has been adopted by some hypnotherapists and also by companies that run seminars marketed as leadership training to businesses and government agencies.
Milton Hyland Erickson was an American psychiatrist and psychologist specializing in medical hypnosis and family therapy. He was founding president of the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis and a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychopathological Association. He is noted for his approach to the unconscious mind as creative and solution-generating. He is also noted for influencing brief therapy, strategic family therapy, family systems therapy, solution focused brief therapy, and neuro-linguistic programming.
Virginia Satir was an influential American author and psychotherapist, recognized for her approach to family therapy. Her pioneering work in the field of family reconstruction therapy honored her with the title. "Mother of Family Therapy" Her most well-known books are Conjoint Family Therapy, 1964, Peoplemaking, 1972, and The New Peoplemaking, 1988.
John Thomas Grinder Jr. is an American linguist, author, management consultant, trainer and speaker. Grinder is credited with co-creating neuro-linguistic programming, with Richard Bandler. He is co-director of Quantum Leap Inc., a management consulting firm founded by his partner Carmen Bostic St. Clair in 1987. Grinder and Bostic St. Clair also run workshops and seminars on NLP internationally.
Richard Wayne Bandler is an American author and trainer in the field of self-help. He is best known as the co-creator of Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), a methodology to understand and change human behavior-patterns. He also developed other systems named Design Human Engineering (DHE) and Neuro Hypnotic Repatterning (NHR).
Reality therapy (RT) is an approach to psychotherapy and counseling. Developed by William Glasser in the 1960s, RT differs from conventional psychiatry, psychoanalysis and medical model schools of psychotherapy in that it focuses on what Glasser calls psychiatry's three Rs: realism, responsibility, and right-and-wrong, rather than symptoms of mental disorders. Reality therapy maintains that the individual is suffering from a socially universal human condition rather than a mental illness. It is in the unsuccessful attainment of basic needs that a person's behavior moves away from the norm. Since fulfilling essential needs is part of a person's present life, reality therapy does not concern itself with a client's past. Neither does this type of therapy deal with unconscious mental processes.
Solution-focused (brief) therapy (SFBT) is a goal-directed collaborative approach to psychotherapeutic change that is conducted through direct observation of clients' responses to a series of precisely constructed questions. Based upon social constructionist thinking and Wittgensteinian philosophy, SFBT focuses on addressing what clients want to achieve without exploring the history and provenance of problem(s). SF therapy sessions typically focus on the present and future, focusing on the past only to the degree necessary for communicating empathy and accurate understanding of the client's concerns.
Behaviour therapy or behavioural psychotherapy is a broad term referring to clinical psychotherapy that uses techniques derived from behaviourism and/or cognitive psychology. It looks at specific, learned behaviours and how the environment, or other people's mental states, influences those behaviours, and consists of techniques based on learning theory, such as respondent or operant conditioning. Behaviourists who practice these techniques are either behaviour analysts or cognitive-behavioural therapists. They tend to look for treatment outcomes that are objectively measurable. Behaviour therapy does not involve one specific method but it has a wide range of techniques that can be used to treat a person's psychological problems.
Jay Douglas Haley was one of the founding figures of brief and family therapy in general and of the strategic model of psychotherapy, and he was one of the more accomplished teachers, clinical supervisors, and authors in these disciplines.
Motivational therapy is a combination of humanistic treatment and enhanced cognitive-behavioral strategies, designed to treat substance abuse. It is similar to motivational interviewing and motivational enhancement therapy.
Child psychotherapy, or mental health interventions for children have developed varied approaches over the last century. Two distinct historic pathways can be identified for present-day provision in Western Europe and in the United States: one through the Child Guidance Movement, the other stemming from Adult psychiatry or Psychological Medicine, which evolved a separate Child psychiatry specialism.
Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) is a brief, attachment-focused psychotherapy that centers on resolving interpersonal problems and symptomatic recovery. It is an empirically supported treatment (EST) that follows a highly structured and time-limited approach and is intended to be completed within 12–16 weeks. IPT is based on the principle that relationships and life events impact mood and that the reverse is also true. It was developed by Gerald Klerman and Myrna Weissman for major depression in the 1970s and has since been adapted for other mental disorders. IPT is an empirically validated intervention for depressive disorders, and is more effective when used in combination with psychiatric medications. Along with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), IPT is recommended in treatment guidelines as a psychosocial treatment of choice.
The methods of neuro-linguistic programming are the specific techniques used to perform and teach neuro-linguistic programming, a pseudoscience which teaches that people are only able to directly perceive a small part of the world using their conscious awareness, and that this view of the world is filtered by experience, beliefs, values, assumptions, and biological sensory systems. NLP argues that people act and feel based on their perception of the world and how they feel about that world they subjectively experience.
John H. Weakland was one of the founders of brief and family psychotherapy. At the time of his death, he was a senior research fellow at the Mental Research Institute (MRI) in Palo Alto, California, co-director of the famous Brief Therapy Center at MRI, and a clinical associate professor emeritus in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
Family therapy, also referred to as couple and family therapy, marriage and family therapy, family systems therapy, and family counseling, is a branch of psychotherapy that works with families and couples in intimate relationships to nurture change and development. It tends to view change in terms of the systems of interaction between family members.
Richard Fisch (1926–2011) was an American psychiatrist best known for his pioneering work in brief therapy.
Paradox psychology is an approach that aims to advance the general field of psychology and treatment. These advances include: An approach that specifically addresses a 'hard-to-treat' or resistant client; A scientific understanding that supports a process for 'spontaneous change'; Unifying behavioral, cognitive, and psychodynamic orientations under a single umbrella theory; A science-based model showing how treating secondary non-criminogenic behaviors will impact primary targeted (volatile) criminogenic behaviors