Have you heard of people who are in therapy for years? decades? Does that remind you of a person laying on a couch and not making eye contact with the therapist?
The length of treatment does not say anything about the client or the therapist. It only says about the therapeutic model. Let’s review some aspects of traditional therapy and contrast it with Brief Therapy:
It’s problem centered
Here’s an example:
“I fell into this hole, I need help”
Traditional therapy: Let’s retrace your steps and see what contributed to you falling into the hole. What type of hole was it? Let’s retrace your steps and unpack each one of them, measure the depth and the type of soil, speak to experts, assess the environmental conditions that made the hole exists in the first place and discuss what was happening to you at the time you fell in the hole (you speak so much about the hole that you don’t focus on getting out of the hole.)
Brief Therapy: Let’s find out who can help bring you a ladder.
Too simplistic for you? If it is, you can provide feedback to the therapist that you prefer something in the middle.
Too much time spent on weaknesses
People come to therapy because they are not at a good place at the moment. A model that makes clients continuously retell their trauma further increases blame and shame. Traditional long term therapy may focus too much on your weaknesses instead of your strengths. For sure there will be a lot of “problem talk” in these sessions. Maybe for years.
In Brief therapy, clients might be asked to spend more time talking about instances in the past where they were successful at what they are trying to achieve. If they can envision a certain future, they most likely have had some experience with it.
It’s all about you
Long term, traditional therapy is introspective (it’s all about you) and it directs you towards gaining insight. In Brief therapy, gaining insight is not necessarily an agent for change.
The professional is the expert
Traditional therapy privileges professional, “expert” knowledge as truth. People believe that the therapist must know what the right way is. There’s an imbalance of power in the room making the client feel worse. Seldom are the clients (individuals, couples or families) regarded as the real agent of changes.
In Brief therapy, you are the expert in your life and therapists should help you understand what is good for you and what is not. The most important thing is that the therapist is not an expert in the best way for you to change. You are.
It’s not cost-effective
I think this is self-explanatory.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of clients who prefer a therapeutic model where there’s plenty of problem talk. Actually there’s an argument that talking about your problems without being solution-focused is helpful as well, and I believe it. But there are more efficient ways to change.
If you prefer a more efficient way to turn things around, there are options. There are hundreds of therapeutic model variations, in fact since we have evolved from the traditional psychoanalytical model.
My preferred model is Brief Therapy. People today don’t have a lot of time, or a lot of money to throw at therapists. Brief therapy is not less than traditional therapy. You don’t get less, you get different therapy. You only get the services that you need.
Contact me if you would like to explore a different way of talk therapy.