Making Lasting Changes in Therapy: How to Ensure Success

Therapists have long been aware of the importance of making lasting changes in therapy, and many studies have been conducted to explore how best to achieve this. In the 1980s, Johnson and Gelso conducted a qualitative study to understand how therapists perceive working with a time limit in their daily practice. They found that client ratings and different types of psychological tests favored brief psychodynamic therapy (BPD) over unlimited treatment over time, while counselors themselves felt less inclined to do so. The researchers hypothesized that counselors' negative evaluation of BPD may be due to their prejudices towards time-limited treatment, or it could reflect different facets of improvement.

For example, counselors may prefer open treatment because it offers greater opportunities to work towards insight and personality reconstruction, while clients may be content with BPD because it helps them feel better quickly. In another survey, Burlingame and Behrman (1988) noted that therapists perceived BPD as more effective in cases of situational adjustment reactions, but therapists preferred unlimited treatment instead of BPD for several other diagnoses, such as neurotic depression, psychosis, and personality disorders. This suggests that therapists often view BPD as a crisis intervention and is therefore more applicable to disorders such as situational adjustment disorder. So how can we make sure that the changes made in therapy are lasting after the session ends? To ensure lasting change, it is important for therapists to focus on the underlying causes of the problem rather than just the symptoms. This means that therapists should take the time to explore the client's history and experiences in order to gain a better understanding of their current situation.

Additionally, therapists should strive to create an environment where clients feel safe and supported so that they can openly discuss their feelings and experiences without fear of judgement or criticism. Therapists should also encourage clients to practice self-care and self-reflection outside of sessions. This could include activities such as journaling, mindfulness meditation, or engaging in physical activities. By taking the time to reflect on their experiences and feelings, clients can gain insight into their behavior patterns and develop healthier coping strategies for dealing with difficult emotions or situations.

Finally, it is important for therapists to provide clients with resources and support after sessions end. This could include referrals to other professionals or support groups, or providing clients with reading materials or online resources that can help them continue their progress outside of therapy sessions. By providing clients with these resources, therapists can help ensure that the changes made in therapy are lasting.

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