Evaluation of outcome in brief psychotherapy
Brief psychotherapy, once considered a stopgap or emergency treatment measure, has now become a major treatment of choice. Most psychotherapeutic interventions are in fact brief, whether or not they were intended to be at the beginning of therapy. Brief psychotherapy has become a major treatment of choice because time-limited methods of treatment have been shown (within the limits of current research methodology) to be effective in producing positive results. In this paper we reviewed some of the research on the effectiveness of brief psychotherapy and examined some of the issues related to conducting sound outcome research. Some special considerations for evaluating the effectiveness of brief psychotherapy were reviewed including: selection of appropriate criterion measures, determination of appropriate points in the treatment to evaluate outcome, and the necessity of evaluating negative effects of treatment, a special problem with brief therapy. We examined the need to tie measures of outcome to specific features of brief psychotherapy, particularly to the concrete goals and the directive nature of the treatment. We noted also that one important feature of brief and crisis-oriented therapies, the heightened state of arousal of patients, needs to be examined further in relation to outcome evaluations before the effectiveness of brief, time-limited treatment can be fully understood.
Butcher, JN; Kolotkin, RL
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