side effects
Brief Therapy
Pros and Cons

Pros for this therapy

Brief psychotherapy probably is best limited to patients of reasonably mature personality and adequate motivation whose emotional disturbance is focal, acute (rather than chronic), of less than extreme intensity and associated with fairly apparent situational factors. It is highly desirable that the patient, despite his distress (which, in some instances, may be very great) still be able to function in his accustomed social role. In short, this means, primarily, neurotic patients, not grossly incapacitated, who see their previous functioning as reasonably satisfactory, or at least not troublesome enough to warrant more extensive investigation. Those who suffer mainly from anxiety, moderate depression or minor hysterical conversions frequently respond remarkably well. Yet, more significant than any one particular symptom or diagnosis is the patient's accessibility and his capacity and readiness for rapid involvement with the therapist.

Cons for this therapy

On the other hand, brief psychotherapy is of limited value whenever the person is no longer able to function in his accustomed social role. Here, one specifically wishes to include psychotic patients, those with massive character disorders of long standing (e.g., alcoholics, drug addicts, and the severely unstable and self-destructive), and those with chronic, complex and disabling "psychosomatic" illnesses (e.g., ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis and the like). Brief treatment of this group, I think, mainly serves to highlight the need for more prolonged treatment. In fact, with these patients brief psychotherapy often serves as an entree into, and preparation for, more definitive long-term treatment. Special care must be taken with some depressed patients who are a suicidal risk; brief treatment frequently offers them neither enough protection nor enough time to resolve their difficulty. Schizoid patients who are bland, detached and disenchanted, have trouble becoming involved in brief treatment and often show a very limited response. Patients who are decidedly dependent need the continuing support of an extended relationship. Finally, long-term treatment is called for whenever there is clear and patent indication for personality reconstruction.