3 things you should know about brief therapy

1 Fast work
Brief therapy is, as you might expect, an approach to counselling that aims to generate lasting behavioural changes in those it treats after only a small number of sessions (usually fewer than five). The technique, which has been successful in bringing about major changes for students and office workers, as well as those with psychological or relationship problems, relies on exploiting existing strengths, and finding solutions for the future – rather than dwelling on past issues. 

2 Key questions
The therapy revolves around three critical questions, the first of which is: what are you hoping to achieve? Brief therapists accept the validity of your answers – which might be motivation-orientated (eg ‘to study more effectively’) or resistance-focused (eg ‘to stop my job getting me down’). The second question asks you to visualise how differently, and specifically, your life would look and feel should you succeed. Brief therapists prefer these visualisations to be realistic and achievable. 

3 Good work
The final question asks what you are already doing, or what you have done in the past, that’s positive, identifying reserves of ability and resourcefulness. And the more challenges you’ve previously had to overcome, the better able you’ll be at resolving the current problem. Brief therapy focuses on what to do now instead of agonising over why things didn’t work in the past – and with each session based on an assumption that it could be the last, solutions are hoped for sooner rather than later.