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Brief Therapy

Brief Therapy exists within a time-limited framework and is solution-based. It uses a number of different approaches aimed at identifying and solving specific issues.

Rather than focusing on past problems, practitioners focus on the present and future, encouraging their clients to work incrementally towards a future goal, in an effort to free themselves from their problem.


Psychotherapists Steve De Shazer and his wife Insoo Kim Berg developed the approach at the Brief Family Therapy Centre in Milwaukee during the 1980s. They based their work on other pioneers of the movement such as Gregory Bateson and Paul Watzlawick of the Mental Research Unit. They were responsible for a dramatic direction change with regards to the practice of psychotherapy.


Brief therapy is part of the Systems Therapies approach. It is a hugely popular type of counselling and is now in great demand. Therapy usually lasts between three to five sessions and is intended to provide clients with solutions that will help bring about positive change.

How can it help?

This type of therapy is suitable for anybody who feels that they need to address certain issues in their life. It is used extensively to treat a wide range of conditions and problems such as anger, sleeping difficulties, anxiety, stress and depression. It’s also useful for dealing with work-related issues.

Resources for Brief Therapy

Brief Therapy Practice
United Kingdom Association for Solution Focused Practice