Molnos, A. (1998): A psychotherapist's harvest

HISTORY OF BDP

Frequently, brief dynamic psychotherapy is talked about as if it were something new, the latest fashion. It is not. Its history is as old as psychoanalysis itself. The two have evolved side by side. One could even argue that classical psychoanalysis has developed progressively from a form of brief therapy. At the same time, resistance against shortening psychotherapy has been operating from the earliest days of psychoanalysis and all through its history.

Freud's earliest cases were brief therapies, though he did not set out to plan his therapies to be short. However others did so. Some of his contemporaries - Ferenczi and Rank foremost among them - set out to develop shortening techniques.

Then Franz Alexander and T. M. French (1946) started to experiment with modifications of the traditional technique: chair instead of the couch, varying frequency, deliberate interruptions prior to termination, etc. Their approach included the corrective emotional experience - the concept for which they are best known - as well as problem solving.

The progress of brief therapies remained, however, strangely discontinuous. The question Gustafson asked fifteen years ago - "Why is it that the secret of brief psychotherapy keeps getting lost?" (Gustafson, 1981, p.83) - remains unanswered. Time and again this complex secret has been rediscovered. Pioneers of brief analytic therapies periodically emerged and added their contribution to the arsenal of ideas and sophisticated shortening techniques: Sifneos, Mann, Balint, Malan, Davanloo, Horowitz, Gustafson, and others.

See also index: ACTIVE PARTICIPATION, BDP, CORRECTIVE EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE, PREJUDICES AGAINST BDP, THERAPISTS' RESISTANCE TOWARDS BDP, TIME IN PSYCHOTHERAPY