I met a client today with travel anxiety problems. He told me that he had been seeing another therapist for almost a year. This therapist had charged him thousands of dollars without creating any change in how he felt.
I find it astonishing that a client can continue charging someone week after week even though the client is getting no benefit. I find it even more disturbing that there are therapists who are so unprofessional as to encourage that. To my mind, applying the same therapy technique over and over, and producing no a significant change, is verging on fraud.
Hypnotherapy is brief therapy. In my practice, if I cannot make a definite, obvious difference in two session, then I advise the client that they may be better to find a different treatment.
Hypnotherapy is brief therapy
Hypnotherapy should be a brief therapy. The common distinguishing features of brief therapies of all types are:
1. Typically between one and twenty sessions.
2. Uses a rapid assessment to identify a core issue
3. Establishes and agrees a specific therapeutic goal.
4. Focuses each session on that therapeutic goal
5. Active and direct interventions from the therapist.
Most common number of sessions = one
Research on therapy effectiveness investigated how many psychotherapy sessions clients actually attended (Talmon, 1990). It was found that:
(1) the modal length of therapy for every one of the therapists monitored was a single session;
(2) 30% of all clients chose to come for only one session in a given twelve month period; and
(3) there was essentially no correlation in a follow-up study between what the client stated helped them, and what the therapist thought was helpful in that session:
‘in most of the single-session therapy cases where patients reported particularly successful outcomes, the therapist appeared to have conducted a rather simple, almost dull session. In fact, in many successful single sessions, it is the patient who appears in control and sets the pace for change’ (p111).
This truth needs to be made clear to most hypnotherapists: you will probably only see the client for one session, whether you are successful or not. So you better get better at brief therapy.
What do you think of brief therapy? Would you go on seeing a client for years?