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Brief Psychotherapies: Potent Approaches to Treatment

Brief Psychotherapies: Potent Approaches to Treatment

Psychiatric Times - Category 1 Credit

To earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™:
Read the article "Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A Guide for the Perplexed" from the February 2009 issue of Psychiatric Times, complete the posttest and the evaluation. (Note: A score of at least 70% must be achieved in order to be awarded credit.)

The posttest will be scored instantly and results will be shown onscreen. Please make a copy of your test results for your continuing education records. After submitting the activity evaluation, you may then print a Statement of Credit for your records.


You must keep your own records of this activity. Copy this information and include it in your continuing education file for reporting purposes.

CME LLC is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

CME LLC designates this educational activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

CME LLC is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider No. CEP12748, and designates this educational activity for 1.5 contact hours for nurses.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ toward recertification requirements.

The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ from organizations accredited by the ACCME.

Sponsored by CME LLC for 1.5 Category 1 credits.
Original release date 02/09. Approved for CME credit through April 2009.

Educational Objectives

After reading this article, you will be familiar with:

• The history of brief psychotherapy • Why there is a need for brief psychotherapy • The approaches of the various psychotherapies • The type of patient most suitable for brief psychotherapy.

Who will benefit from reading this article?
Psychiatrists, psychologists, primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, and other health care professionals. To determine whether this article meets the continuing education requirements of your specialty, please contact your state licensing and certification boards.

Brief psychotherapy is not the name of a specific model or theory of treatment. Rather, it describes an approach that attempts to make psychotherapy as efficient and practically helpful as possible within a limited time frame. The aim of brief therapy is to speed up the process of change, amplify patient involvement, and foster more focused psychotherapy sessions. Over the years, several approaches to brief psychotherapy have evolved. Some advocate a handful of sessions; others involve more than 20 sessions (eg, psychodynamic therapy).

A growing body of empirical evidence highlights not only the fact that short-term psycho­therapy produces positive outcomes but also that the likelihood of success can be linked to certain patient and therapist characteristics. The value of brief psychotherapies for a variety of conditions has been well documented.1-3

A brief history of short-term approaches Some may be surprised to learn that treatments of brief duration have roots in psychoanalysis, which is often portrayed as the model that requires the longest time in treatment. In Studies on Hysteria, Freud4 described 3 of his cases that only lasted between 1 and 9 weeks. Furthermore, his successful treatment of famed composer Gustav Mahler’s impotence in a single, 4-hour session is a demonstration of the value of focus and brevity.5 Other psychoanalysts, such as Ferenczi and Rank,6 also made deliberate attempts to abbreviate the length of psychotherapy. However, it was Alexander and French7 who most systematically moved analysts toward briefer therapies in their classic work Psychoanalytic Therapy: Principles and Applications.


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