Books and Articles on Brief and Time-Limited Counselling

This section focuses on resources in brief and time-limited approaches to counselling.

Theory and Research in Counselling and Psychotherapy

Brief and Time-Limited Counselling

Dryden, W. and C. Feltham (1992) Brief Counselling: A Practical Guide for Beginning Practitioners. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Recognizing the reality that much work in counselling and psychotherapy is limited by available resources to what might be called 'brief' (for the purposes of this book, up to around 20 sessions), this guide is eminently practical and down-to-Earth. Specific issues are raised in brief discussions (usually 1-3 pages) organized into 6 chronological sections, starting with orienting the client to counselling and moving on to counselling in the middle phase, and finally ending counselling. Throughout, there is a background awareness of the need to balance goal-directed working with the job of creating and maintaining an effective relationship with the client (and in fact, one section is called 'Balance the gains of being goal-directed against the gains of relationship factors', pp. 139-141). Also see Feltham (1997).

Feltham, C. (1997) Time-Limited Counselling. London: Sage.

With significantly more theoretical depth than Dryden and Feltham's (1992) book of practical advice for practitioners, this volume offers a concise introduction to the area and complements the earlier volume nicely. And despite the greater emphasis on theory, the book is by no means short on immediately useful and practical material. Chapter 5 (pp. 55-85) on 'Key Ingredients, Skills and Strategies' is a real gem in terms of stimulating thought and reflection about one's own clinical practice and response to contexts which are time-limited for whatever reason. (The brief section 'Clarify your attitude to time-limited counselling' on pp. 58-59 can probably provoke enough reflection all by itself to fill a good several hours of discussions with colleagues.)


This page was last reviewed by Dr Greg Mulhauser, Thursday, 3 November 2022.