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Brief Effective Therapy

Psychologists use the terms brief therapy, brief treatment, or planned short-term therapy to describe solution-oriented psychotherapy techniques designed to help clients quickly improve the issues for they seek treatment. Research evidence shows that brief therapy, is effective, works quickly and results in lasting change or benefit.

Certain types of psychotherapy help clients with personal growth, insight, or other issues and utilize long-term approaches such as psychoanalysis, personal growth therapy, or psychodynamic therapy. Brief therapy uses a problem-focused approach to helping clients resolve their specific issues in an efficient manner.

Brief therapy is directive, rather than exploratory or nondirective. It focuses on giving you the tools to handle problems and reach your treatment goals as quickly as possible.

What techniques are used?

Dr. McMahon uses a variety of techniques in brief therapy and different techniques may be combined. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the mainstays of brief therapy (see Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) because of the strong evidence supporting its effectiveness. Positive Psychology techniques (see Positive Psychology) may be combined with CBT for even greater effectiveness.

For fears and phobias, CBT may be combined with virtual reality therapy (see Virtual Reality Therapy) for the exposure portion of the therapy. Dr. McMahon finds that VRT makes treatment easier and faster.

What if I have more than one fear?

Multiple fears or anxiety issues can be addressed using brief therapy. Dr. McMahon will help you break your issues down into smaller parts, and work through each part in turn. The time between meetings can vary and you have the flexibility to start and stop therapy, returning as needed.

How brief is brief therapy?

It is very hard to generalize because every client is unique and people seek therapy for a variety of different issues. Dr. McMahon does find that most clients who seek help for anxiety or fears report feeling better by the end of the third session. Therapy can be as brief as three sessions or may require 12 sessions or more. Dr. McMahon checks on progress in every session and will not waste your time if things are not working.

Dr. McMahon offers intensive therapy for clients with time constraints or coming from outside San Francisco. For more information see Accelerated Treatment Option or call Dr. McMahon at 1-415-625-3565.