To determine whether a client needs short or long term social work intervention or a combination of both, several strategies can be applied. One of these is the time-limited dynamic, supportive-expressive psychotherapy, which is implemented in such a way that allows the clients to feel comfortable in discussing their personal experiences (Mander, 2000). Another strategy is Mann’s time-limited psychotherapy, which is employed to reveal the unconscious content of the social work client psych. The tool is mostly used to determine the degree of the underlying client need. A further tactic that can be employed by a social worker is referred to as the Strupp’s dynamic psychotherapy (Clarkin & Frances, 1982). The role of this particular technique is to determine the client’s level of internal resistance to experiencing the true feelings regarding the past and the present, which have been warded off as a result of fear or pain.

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Two years ago, I met John, a former internally displaced person. His situation was as a result of an earthquake that had hit his area. I noted that he was depressed. Thus, I decided to apply my social work competency to establish a viable intervention for him. As such, I prepared the client psychologically in a way that promoted openness on his part. From my conversation with him, I established that he was acutely depressed due to the losses he had experienced. I also came to know that his depression had lasted a year. Therefore, I determined that John was in need of a long-term intervention.

The process that I used closely resembles the time-limited dynamic, supportive-expressive psychotherapy. Just as the approach requires, I helped the client to talk freely about his experiences after the earthquake disaster (Knight, 2003). As a result, similar to the outcomes of the technique under focus, I was allowed to know the nature and extent of depression that John was experiencing. Nonetheless, in stark contrast to the time-limited dynamic, supportive-expressive psychotherapy demands, I supposed that the client needed a long-term intervention as opposed to a short term one (Reynolds, 2006).

  • Clarkin, J. F. & Frances, A. (1982). Selection criteria for the brief psychotherapies. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 36(2), 166–180.
  • Knight, J. (2003). Reflections on the therapist-supervisor relationship. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Mander, G. (2000). Beginnings, endings and outcome: A comparison of methods and goals. Psychodynamic Counseling, 6(3), 301–317.
  • Reynolds, H. (2006). Beyond reason and anxiety: how psychoanalytical ideas can inform the practice of supervision. London: Routledge.