A growing trend in therapeutic approaches is intensive psychotherapy. While the traditional psychotherapy model calls for a 1 hour appointment once per week, in intensive psychotherapy the individual is seen for a few hours at a time, sometimes multiple times in a week — often over a weekend. The momentum gained by this level of intensive therapy helps the individual move at a much faster pace. Issues that may have taken weeks or even months to address using a traditional approach can often be resolved in a few hours or days.
There are a number of reasons why this approach is desirable. Sometimes the therapeutic process is disruptive to the lives of individuals in therapy. Perhaps one is being flooded by past traumatic memories, or perhaps the day-to-day demands of being a parent is more than the individual can handle and maintain emotional stability. An intensive psychotherapy approach can allow for that disruption to be contained. It is highly customized to meet the needs of the individual.
Although intensive psychotherapy is a new trend, there is research to support its effectiveness. The following paragraph summarizes the conclusion from recent research as sited in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
A randomized controlled trial of 7-day intensive and standard weekly cognitive therapy for PTSD and emotion-focused supportive therapy concludes that: Cognitive therapy for PTSD delivered intensively over little more than a week was as effective as cognitive therapy delivered over 3 months. Both had specific effects and were superior to supportive therapy. Intensive cognitive therapy for PTSD is a feasible and promising alternative to traditional weekly treatment. To read about this research, go to the American Journal of Psychiatry.
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