What is short-term therapy?
Many people would like to work on some of the problems that they face, but are hesitant or unable to commit to a treatment course without a definite end date. Maybe you have an upcoming move to keep in mind or your financial situation mandates that you plan ahead, or maybe you just want to tackle this issue quickly and forcefully.
In short-term therapy, you and I discuss ahead of time how many sessions would be appropriate. This could range from three to five sessions for very straightforward and time-sensitive issues such as whether or not to take a job offer, a period of some months for more weighty difficulties such as perfectionism, anxiety and depression.
Knowing ahead of time how long we plan to work together allows us to plan accordingly. We won't get into thorny or complicated issues if they are not immediately relevant to the task at hand and if we don't have the time to reach some sort of resolution in these areas before we end.
Is short-term therapy for you?
Short-term therapy is ideal for those who meet some of the following criteria:
- you are only in DC for a discrete amount of time, such as a short-term job or internship
- you are generally extremely busy, but can commit to psychotherapy only during a "down time" professionally
- you want to work on a relatively straightforward issue
- you have a time-sensitive issue such as a job offer or marriage proposal
- you feel professionally "stuck"
- you want to make some headway in the following areas, with the understanding that healing completely would likely take a further commitment:
- generalized anxiety
- mild depression
- relationship issues
- difficulty maintaining boundaries
- mild body image difficulties
when is short-term therapy not appropriate?
If you cannot remember a time when you weren't affected by your current difficulties, and if they permeate most aspects of your life, it is probably not going to be healed within a matter of months. This isn't to say that there might not be some piece of work you can do short-term, but for real and lasting healing I would recommend making the commitment and investment in yourself to do insight-oriented psychotherapy. Short-term therapy is also generally not appropriate for disordered eating unless there is a clear reason to work this way and follow-up care is planned.