Your Therapy

Why are we offering “brief therapy?” Because it helps.

When most people think about therapy, they imagine sessions happening over weeks or months, as the therapist helps a client dive deeply into the causes of their mental-health issues. That is one of the most common models, but there’s another: brief therapy, which involves anywhere from one to six sessions.

WHAT IS BRIEF THERAPY?

Brief therapy is a short-term, highly goal oriented process, that focuses on an assessment-and-feedback process that targets change strategies. The therapist immediately helps the client learn coping strategies to deal with their mental health concerns, without delving deeply into their past. That is, rather than look at negative thoughts and behaviors might be causing the issues, therapist and client primarily work on positive ways to move forward. We focus on your strengths and skills, then help you identify and practice things you can do right away.

DOES IT WORK?

There’s very a significant body of evidence showing that brief therapy works—and works well. US-based studies have found that 60% to 80% of people experience significant improvement in their mental health after brief therapy. In addition, one-third of clients only ever do a single session. For many people, gaining some understanding of their issues, and then tools to mange those issue, is enough for them to make the changes they need, and achieve a better quality of life.

WHO CAN BENEFIT?

Brief therapy offers help for people struggling with a wide variety of mental-health issues, including anxiety, depression, trauma, grief and conversion disorder, just to name a few. It’s also of great benefit to couples, as well those who need parenting support. Brief therapy is also a good choice for people reluctant to begin a long therapeutic process. And of course, it’s a more affordable alternative.

In recent months, the Your Therapy waiting list has grown longer than we’d like. As healthcare providers, it’s hard to know that adults or young people are out there, distressed and waiting for help. A brief therapy session can help people develop coping strategies as they wait to begin longer-term therapy. In this sense, brief therapy is like a book or a TV show episode that’s part of a longer series, but that also stands on its own. It’s a way to make our services more accessible, and offer some hope when you need it most. In fact, we can usually see clients for brief therapy within two to three weeks.

WHAT IS IT LIKE?

After initially contacting us, we’ll ask you to fill in a pre-session questionnaire. Then, we’ll have one 70-minute face-to-face session (as opposed to the usual 50-minute sessions). At the end of the session, we save time for feedback to the client. This is part of the process to ensure we focus on change strategies and implementation.

If we think there’s a little more to accomplish, we may recommend a second brief therapy session follow-up or you may return to the waitlist for longer term therapy. However, if you feel you have the tools to work on your issues, then that’s it. You may always reconnect for a follow up brief therapy session as needed.

Although we haven’t previously offered this service, I was trained in brief therapy in my previous job at a large Toronto hospital. In fact, for years I and other clinicians at Your Therapy were part of developing and running a brief-therapy clinic in the hospital.

On a personal note, I’m looking forward to offering this new therapy. Naturally we therapists value the relationships we form with long-term clients. But brief therapy, which tends to make an immediate positive impact on people’s lives, is also extremely rewarding. All of us at Your Therapy are excited to have another way we can help people in our community.

Anu Chahauver, MSW, RSW is a registered social worker / psychotherapist specializing in individual, family, couple and parent based treatment of anxiety and other concerns at our clinic.

Your Therapy is a safe, welcoming, counselling therapy practice in the Greater Toronto Area. Thanks for reading and, as always, please feel free to reach out with questions about therapy or other mental health issues.

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