Very brief dynamic psychotherapy (VBDP)

| February 11, 2016

Very brief dynamic psychotherapy (VBDP) involves the practice of short term psychotherapy that normally lasts less than 10 sessions. The limitation in time allows for problem-oriented therapist activity which establishes a central goal and works towards accomplishing that goal in the shortest time possible. The objective of VBDP is to achieve the highest benefit and lowest harm on a patient in a short duration of time, thereby necessitating advanced knowledge and skill for the therapist. Generally the patients undergoing VBDP are re-exposed to recurrent schemas or negative emotions in a more conducive environment, by allowing them to relive the traumatic memories which they could not overcome in their past (Arntz, Genderen & Drost, 2009). By experiencing negative memories, patients are predisposed to corrective emotional experiences that are essential in repairing the traumatic impact that earlier negative experiences have had on them. However, VBDP does not focus primarily on the application of corrective experience, which can occur during treatment or in conjunction with the treatment; rather the psychotherapy is hinged on exposing the traumatic experiences and assisting the patient in overcoming the resultant memories. VBDP are continually re-exposed to their emotional traumas which they were formerly unable to surmount and guided on how to address and perceive the emotions and experiences in a more constructive manner. In addition, VBDP equips the patients with the mental aptitude to overcome similar experiences and emotions that might occur in their daily lives, allowing the patients to live a more comfortable and productive life (Arntz, Genderen & Drost, 2009). Therapists conducting VBDP are therefore required to be sufficiently skilled in deducing negative emotions, highlighting the underlying memories and experiences which allow them to formulate a treatment plan for each of their patients. All this occurs in a relatively short period of time, at times even during a single session thereby requiring extensive knowledge and analytical skills that are essential in identifying the most appropriate corrective experience. An inherent component of VBDP is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which applies cognitive and behavioral concepts of treatment in to highlighting behavioral and emotional processes that cause negative emotions and even disorders. CBT utilizes a straightforward and integrated theoretical framework that considers mental and social factors that are fundamental in the treatment, and inculcates self- management exercises that can be applied by the patients in their daily lives to overcome negative emotions or memories (Baterman & Fonagy, 2004). For VBDP to be considered successful, an analytical justification of the problem, schema and/or treatment has to be provided in order to facilitate the evaluation of traumas when the patient is emotionally excited. The therapist has to be sensitive to the patients’ needs and have the capacity to inculcate emotional independence among the patients. For this to effectively occur the work of the therapist is widely accepted by peers and society which is exemplified by success experiences among patients and secure relationship between the patient and therapist. The efficacy of VBDP is therefore quantified by the expediency in developing the patient’s natural healing process relative to their subjective perception of change, which requires flexibility and creativity for the therapist to adopt the individual acuity of the patient.


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