Brief therapy

This issue has been vigorously addressed in the past decade. Spared by economic and managerial pressures, a new distinctive modality has evolved. Sessions (between six and 25) are held weekly. Characteristics that differentiate brief from long-term therapy include clearly defined therapeutic goals agreed at the outset, the early establishment of a therapeutic alliance, active and flexible therapeutic style, a focus on the here-and-now group process, the maintenance of time awareness, monitored in stage-specific terms, and the vigorous directed exploration of thematic content.

Short-term groups may be homogeneous or heterogeneous. Homogenous groups have proved effective in helping patients deal with loss and grief, the consequences of trauma and abuse, and common problems involved in coping with physical illness and disability. Heteregenous groups require more psychodynamic commonalities such as shared problems in interpersonal relationships, the ability to recognize and work on psychological issues, and the ability to cope with the speed and intensity of the process. Those who lack psychological sophistication or are not motivated for self-exploration are not suited to this therapy.

Livesley and MacKenzie, (146 147) in their model of brief group psychotherapy, have outlined the following developmental stages: engagement, differentiation, individuation, intimacy, mutuality, and termination.

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