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Brief Intervention Strategies

Several authors have detailed approaches to existential issues within a brief counseling model (Bugental, 2008; Galvin, 2008; Strasser & Strasser, 1997). Although there have been numerous attempts at brief forms of existential psychotherapy, the authors of these approaches often acknowledge the limitations. However, life does not always allow for longterm treatment of long-term problems. As such, brief existential approaches actually mirror the intense, transitory existence of life.

Several authors have detailed brief approaches to existential counseling. Lantz and Walsh (2007) wrote a guidebook to help counselors learn applications and approaches to brief counseling. Bugental (2008) outlined the elements of existential counseling and indicated the importance of the client experiencing autonomy, the importance of searching, and good habits that will make subsequent therapy easier. Galvin (2008) provided a metaphor for brief, existential counseling:

Let me end with the image of two road-weary travelers meeting by the fire in the comer of a dimly lit inn that gives temporary shelter to life's wandering pilgrims. In the morning these travelers will part, but each will feel better prepared for the journey that still remains. For me this simple image says much about what it means to be an existential therapist, (p. 175)

Fernando (2007) believed that solution-focused counseling is a form of an existential approach developed by Ellerman (1999) – brief solution-focused existential therapy. Fernando indicated that the approach needs to focus quickly on the problem and strengths, and help build coping strategies while receiving feedback on the efficacy of the approach.

In a short-term authentic encounter, individuals are necessarily led to address death, anxiety, isolation, and meaning. In that context, brief existential counseling mirrors reality.

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