• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

`Anybody with the slightest interest in brief therapy should read this book. Now that the initial controversy over brief therapy has begun to subside it is great to see how brief therapy works in practice. Gaie Houston's book is part of a series published by SAGE which sets out to do this - and hers is particularly illuminating and accessible. As she points out Gestalt is better equipped than many mainstream therapies to be applied to situations with extreme time constraints because it is both flexible and it acknowledges the part that can be played by other therapies. But what propels Houston's book out of the hum drum - or indeed the defensive (or offensive) diatribes about short therapy which have appeared over the past few years - is her vivid accounts of real-life sessions, both one to one and group, which punctuate the text' - Amazon Review Brief Gestalt Therapy demonstrates how the Gestalt approach can be used effectively in brief interventions with clients. Gestalt's distinctively integrative nature and emphasis on a highly co-operative working alliance, make it particularly suited to brief work. The book sets out the basic theory and principles of Gestalt and looks at each phase of the therapeutic process from initial assessment through the beginning and middle stages to the ending of the work. It presents clear, practical strategies for therapists to follow and in particular examines: } aspects of Gestalt which are especially relevant to brief work -} the elements of successful therapy -} ways of improving skills. Brief Gestalt Therapy includes vignettes and detailed case studies which bring the theory alive. It will contribute much to both existing literature on Gestalt therapy and also brief therapy, and will be invaluable to trainee and practising Gestalt therapists.

The Beginning
The beginning

Time needs to stay in the awareness of both parties to BGT from the beginning (Jacques, 1999). In many cases a fixed number of sessions are available, so the precise length of the available therapy is known. In other cases, both people start from the assumption that they will meet for less than so many weeks or months. This brevity can affect trainee therapists, making them stray into a hurry-up mode that probably ends by freezing both parties into immobility. Yet a great deal can and does happen in very short periods of time.

Some practitioners see clients in BGT for their six or however many sessions in a weekly sequence. Others vary the intervals between sessions, where this looks likely to be ...

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