What is it?
"Practice must always be founded on sound theory"
Leonardo da Vinci.
Brief Strategic Therapy focuses on how a problem works and persists, rather than its causes.
In particular, the work of a strategic therapist begins by clearly identifying what the patient has already done to try solve the problem.
Paradoxically, this is precisely this that, instead of resolving the problem, complicates and mantain its. In other words, people confromted with a problem tend to repeat the same behavior in the belief that they will find the solution themselves.
What the patient is often not aware of is that if the problem is not improving, it is necessary to make a change, one that is impossible to see from their trapped perspective.
That is why the problem exists according to what has been done to solve it.
The therapy is focused on the "here and now" and the future; the past is only considered where necessary.
The therapy is designed so that the patient, by applying apparently simple techniques, can resolve the problem quickly and effectively. To achieve this goal, the strategic intervention is active and prescriptive, ie, in each session the therapist prescribes to the patient a number of tasks to be carried out between sessions, giving the patient an active role in the process of change.
Generally, the sessions are twice monthly. It is important that the patient has time between sessions to perform the prescribed therapeutic tasks and observe the effects. As the therapy progresses the frequency of the clinical sessions will reduce.
Treatment begins in the first session. If the therapy works and develops satisfactorily the patient should experience changes from the first or second visit.
What if these changes do not come? Sometimes therapy does not work or doesn't have the desired results. There can be many different causes for this.Therefore, therapy begins with an agreement between patient and therapist to undertake a maximum of 10 sessions. This means that if there no significant changes are seen during the treatment sessions, the therapy will stop. Conversely, if positive changes are seen therapy will continue for as many sessions as needed.
Treatment is directed and focuses on the problem that the patient has: no other aspects of the patient are analysed unless directly related to the complaint.
In case that the patient is a child, I try to work indirectly through the parents or guardians. Sometimes children are resistant to visiting a psychologist and, in many cases, it is not really necessary to go through a therapeutic process. Working with guardians, we can achieve the same desired changes. Only when it is truly necessary will the treatment be conducted directly with the child.