What is Brief or Short-Term Therapy?

Brief or Short-Term Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that is short-term in nature and typically focuses on solutions rather than problems. In doing so, the counselor utilizes a collaborative relationship between the counselor and client. The aim is to emphasize students’ strengths and to help them to work actively towards well-defined goals. Short-Term is often about bringing successes into the client’s awareness which tends to increase hopefulness.

Why is it a good approach?

Many clients find that short-term helps to keep the meetings focused and productive. The time-limited nature of counseling can encourage the client and therapist to work together effectively and efficiently. Furthermore, short-term has been shown to be suitable for a wide variety of clients and problems, such as anxiety, depression, grief, relationship issues, stress, and lifestyle changes.

What research supports it?

Research has shown that various forms of time-limited therapy yield very good results. For example, a comprehensive study on solution-focused short-term found that it had a positive effect in less time and satisfied the client’s need for autonomy more than other forms of psycholotherapy.

How common is it?

Short-term is widely used in the mental health field and has become the most preferred mode of individual service delivery nationally in college counseling.

How “short” is Short-Term Therapy?

Counseling and Wellness does not maintain a formal and exact session limit, however, due to our limited staffing resources and the nature of the therapy we provide, sessions do not extend past 10 a trimester.

What if a student needs treatment beyond short-term therapy?

As described above, short-term therapy is appropriate in many circumstances. However, for students who may benefit from longer-term, more frequent, or more specialized counseling, Counseling and Wellness works to coordinate access to resources in the local off-campus community. For more information about the Counseling and Wellness Scope of Service, see above. Consideration may be given about a student’s resources n deciding whether, when, and where to refer to off-campus services. Counseling and Wellness has an excellent database of community agencies and individual providers, so that a referral can be individualized to the student’s insurance, location, type of issue, or other criteria.

How to get the most out of it?

To get the most out of a brief therapy experience, clients are encouraged to think about their goals, about how they would like things to be different. Clients are also encouraged to be willing to engage in work. With the help of the counselor, clients will explore ways that will bring them within reach of their goals. This also involves a willingness to devote energy to out-of-session work that the counselor may recommend.