Brief therapy is designed to produce change within a limited amount of time, usually 20 sessions or less. It focuses on specific problems while utilizing highly strategic and solution-based interventions. There is less focus on the past as a source of distress than traditional therapies, since the “why” of any problem is seen as less of a concern than current factors sustaining it. The client may have been influenced by his past, but is not determined by it. The emphasis is on helping the client gain a wider perspective, thus creating more flexibility and a greater view of choice. Collaboratively, client and therapist determine the specific objectives of treatment, using concrete and measurable goals to get there. In addition, the client is encouraged to take an inventory of their strengths and to use these strengths in solution-oriented ways in order to attain success.
Brief therapy differs from other schools of therapy in two major ways:
- It is strength-based versus problem-focused
- Rather than viewing the therapist as having sole expertise with knowledge beyond the client’s grasp, client and therapist work together in equal partnership to solve the client’s distress.
Brief therapists do not support one form of treatment. They believe there are many paths to success and will often use many different approaches to get the job done.