Friday, July 18, 2008

Leijssen & Elliott (2008). Integrative experiential psychotherapy in brief

This is an article that Mia and I had fun doing together. Actually, we started by getting a very nice dutch-language paper of hers translated into English. I always enjoy the clarity and groundedness of her writing, and I always learn something from her. So I kept including more and more bits of her work, and pretty soon, it ended up with so much of her work in it that she really needed to be first author, which I had no trouble with. Keith Tudor found it a bit strange that our example client had received 25 sessions of “short-term” therapy, because that didn’t seem very short to him, but it was pretty clear to me that this client covered a lot of ground in a relatively brief period of time, so that it was almost like 4 brief therapies, one right after another. One the things I learned from Mia in this paper was the idea/practice of the therapist offering to keep the client’s pain between sessions. I’ve since tried this with my clients in the Social Anxiety project, to good effect.

Reference: Leijssen, M., & Elliott, R. (2008). Integrative experiential psychotherapy in brief. In K. Tudor (Ed.), Brief Person-Centred Therapies (pp. 31-46). London: Sage.

Abstract. Contemporary experiential therapies integrate aspects of several different suborientations within the broad client-centered/experiential approach, with new theory, practice and research, supporting their use as brief treatments. In this chapter we provide an overview of some of the main elements of current experiential therapy, with special reference to its application as a brief therapy. We briefly summarize the main research data supporting the effectiveness of this approach, We work in a more orthodox client-centered way to facilitate the narrative construction of the client’s life. We also introduce focusing micro-processes to help the client develop a healthy internal self-relationship. Interpersonal work takes the lead when maladaptive interpersonal schemes are hindering the relational life of the client. In addition, we appreciate existential processes, especially when the client struggles with the givens of life. In this chapter, we offer several vignettes from a short-term psychotherapy to illustrate this integrative approach. The client in this case study reported the introduction of a time-limit at the start of the therapy as stimulating and hopeful.

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