• 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 Middle
The middle

What I am calling the middle is the part of BGT that follows after an agreement has been reached about the focus of the work. Reaching this agreement includes establishing trust, and what is here termed ‘therapeutic relationship’, as well as a working alliance.

Generally, the middle is likely to stretch from about the third session, through as many as are available before the therapist, if not the client, notices that the end is close enough to need to be dealt with. In this middle phase, people will change subtly as time passes, as a leaf changes colour and texture through the summer. At best, this change will be a maturing rather than an atrophy of the relationship between therapist and client, or ...

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