Short-term or Brief Counseling/Therapy: Cognitive-behavioral and Psychodynamic Models for College Counseling Abstract “Short-term” or “Brief Counseling/Therapy” and the current mental health system seem to be inexorably linked for at least the foreseeable future. This paper discusses
the history, objectives, appropriate clientele, efficacy, and the other benefits, and
short comings, of this therapeutic/counseling modality and its relevance to my
present career direction, College Counseling. Cognitive-behavioral, Psychodynamic,
and Gestalt applications of brief therapy/counseling methods will be addressed.
For a working definition of short-term or brief therapy/counseling I would like to quote a
couple of authors on the subject. Wells (1982) states that, “Short -term treatment, as I shall use the
term, refers to a group (or family) of related interventions in which the helper deliberately and
planfully limits both the goals and duration of contact”(p. 2). Nugent (1994) says that, “In contrast
to traditional therapies, brief counseling and therapies (or time-limited therapies) set specific goals
and specify that the number of sessions will be limited.” He then adds that, “Counselors using brief
therapy approaches help clients develop coping skills that will enable them to anticipate and manage
future problems more effectively”(p. 96). In short, brief counseling/therapy is more directive and
time-limited, regardless of the particular therapeutic theory being employed. The counselor assumes
an active instead of a passive role in his relationship with the client. Due to budget constraints, the
rising cost of mental-health care, and a growing demand for services over the last decade, a large
number of counselors, in a large variety...
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