Very Brief Psychotherapy  book cover
1st Edition

Very Brief Psychotherapy

ISBN 9780203956090
Published January 11, 2013 by Routledge
228 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

As the fields of psychiatry and clinical psychology are increasingly driven by the economics of the HMO or Mental Health Center, practitioners in any setting, whether it be private practice or university clinic, are now forced to develop more concrete procedures and models in order to practice more efficiently. This book presents a set of procedures for brief therapy that are based entirely on the four common dynamics of psychiatry. By following the model set forth in this book, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, psychiatric nurses, and mental health workers will be able to build an entire brief therapy program based upon the initial conditions for each patient.

In Very Brief Psychotherapy, Dr. James Gustafson provides the reader with the tools and techniques to make a discernable difference in a patient's life in only a few moments. The majority of people seeking help from mental health professionals are not pathological, but are most often stuck in self-imposed cyclical patterns of behavior from which they cannot escape. It is the first step in any situation that leads to the iteration of the familiar circle, and it is in this single step that the clinician can effect decisive change. Given a window of only five or ten minutes, the practitioner armed with this approach can help a patient break out of the repeating pattern, move around the impasse, and take the first step onto a new trajectory. Very Brief Psychotherapy can help the practitioner make meaningful interventions in real world time, and in less than ideal circumstances, will radically change the reader's concepts of what can be accomplished in a day, in a clinical hour, or even in a single moment.

Table of Contents

Preface. Part I: Containment. Anxiety as a Signal of Danger. Depression as a Signal of Defeat. The Compensations for Unbearable Anxiety and Depression. Part II: Selective Inattention Revised. Schooling Against False Claims. Backing Up the History From Disaster. Walking Forward to Read the Exchanges in Work and Love. Part III: The Opposing Current Navigated. The Opposing Current to Receptiveness. The Opposing Current to Pushing. The Opposing Current to Guilt. Part IV: Impasse Surmounted. The Relationship or Marital Impasse. The Work Impasse. The Developmental Impasse. Part V: Background. Scientific Evidence and Very Brief Psychotherapy. Follow-up Judgments by Patients Described in the Text. Drawings and Letters. The Defense of the Doctor / Psychotherapist. Dreaming the Theory. A Theoretical Note on the Scaffolding of this Book. References. Index.

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James P. Gustafson, M.D., is Professor of Psychiatry and Chief of the Brief Psychotherapy Clinic at the University of Wisconsin Medical School in Madison, Wisconsin.


'Very Brief Psychotherapy is engagingly written, clinically astute, and theoretically brilliant. Jim Gustafson shows how, with one step - the right step - patients can do something different to break out of their painful, reiterating traps. Highly recommended.' - Michael F. Hoyt, Ph.D., Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, USA