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October 1967

Length of Psychotherapy: Studies Done in a University Community Psychiatric Clinic

Author Affiliations

New Haven, Conn
From the Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967;17(4):454-458. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1967.01730280070008

MOST clinic psychotherapy is brief. Patients in individual psychotherapy in psychiatric clinics are generally seen one hour per week for one or two up to 20 or 30 visits. Although the differences in the extremes seem great, it should be noted that even at its upper limit this number of treatment hours is remarkably small compared to the number of hours involved in intensive psychotherapy or psychoanalysis. Despite this fact there is a tendency in the literature1-18 on psychiatric clinics to polarize patients into two groups, "short-term" and "long-term." Some authors1,5-8,10-15 have described the short-term patient as differing from the long-term patient along a number of social, personal, and demographic parameters. A few studies1,5-9,12 have shown a positive correlation between length of psychotherapy and patient improvement. These conclusions have crept into clinic folklore and have complemented another commonly held assumption, namely that the short-term patient is involved in

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