Over the course of long-term therapy Caroline has obtained relief from disabling symptoms, has grown considerably, and now has a much better chance of living a happy, productive life. Clearly a successful course of treatment.
My initial reaction was to wonder if it would be possible to obtain the same results more quickly by approaching therapy differently. After all, in this day of managed care there is increasing pressure for therapists to focus on quick symptomatic relief rather than long-term improvement. After some reflection, my conclusion is that there is no way to know if a different treatment approach would have resulted in faster progress for Caroline. For example, the approach I use (Cognitive Therapy) is known as a short-term therapy and often can produce dramatic results fairly quickly. However, several of my current clients have been seeing me significantly longer than Caroline was in treatment.
Besides, is quickness all that matters? Certainly, the sooner we can obtain symptom relief and lasting improvement, the better it is for the client. However, this does not mean that short-term treatment is always possible or that it is always better. It may be strange to hear a cognitive-behaviorist say it, but the current press towards trying to make therapy faster and more cost-effective runs a risk of sacrificing the benefits of longer-term treatment.