A treatment strategy for meeting life as it is. Patients' and therapists' experiences of brief therapy in a district psychiatric centre: A qualitative study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Abstract Background: Young adults increasingly seek help for mental health problems. In 2016, a district psychiatric centre in Norway started a brief treatment program to provide early and effective help for moderate depression and anxiety. Aim: Exploring patients' and therapists' experiences of brief therapy, especially how the time limitation influences the treatment process. Methods: Individual interviews with 12 patients and focus group interviews with eight therapists analyzed using systematic text condensation. Results: The results constitute five themes: (1) Time-limit as a frame for targeted change, (2) Clarifying expectations and accountability, (3) Shared agreement on a defined treatment-project, (4) Providing tools instead of searching for causes, and (5) Learning to cope-not being cured. Conclusion: Time-limitation in brief therapy appeared to play a positive role, helping the therapists to structure the therapeutic process and strengthening patients' motivation. Shared understanding and activation during brief therapy may reinforce patients' responsibility and expectations to achieve individual goals. Brief therapy can be viewed as the start of a personal process towards "mastering life as it is". More research is needed to investigate the patients' long-term outcomes after treatment and to shed light on the potential for, and limitations of, mastering everyday-life.