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Kelman, H. (1947). The Short Therapies-an Evaluation. Am. J. Psychoanal., 7(1):3-17.

(1947). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 7(1):3-17

The Short Therapies-an Evaluation

Harold Kelman

A NUMBER of techniques—surgical, mechanical, pharmacological, and psychological—when used alone or in combination with psychotherapy, have been termed short, shortened, or short-cut, brief, briefer or abbreviated psychotherapy. The main mechanical therapy is electro-shock. Among the pharmacological therapies are metrazol and insulin shock, prolonged narcosis, narcoanalysis, narcohypnosis, and narcosynthesis. Leucotomy or lobotomy is the main surgical procedure also called psychosurgery. The commonest psychological short-cut method is hypnoanalysis.

Goals of Short Therapies

The literature states or implies: that the period of psychotherapy will be shortened through the use of one of the above technical procedures and the same or an equivalant result will be obtained; that the use of such techniques makes possible the cure or alleviation of certain mental disturbances with which psychotherapy had previously failed; and that such techniques alone may bring about an equal or better result than psychotherapy and in an equal or shorter time.

The goals of the short therapists are symptom improvement in the shortest possible time with the greatest number of people. In support of their position, they state or imply that symptoms insist on attention; that symptom relief is better than no relief; that many people urgently need help and therefore expedient measures are warranted; that many people getting some treatment is better than many getting none; and that even life endangering measures as last resorts are justified where all else, which a short therapist would use, has failed.

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