Brief & Open Ended Counselling for Individuals


For the purposes of this website the following terms are interchangable

  • Short-Term; Time Limited; Brief
  • Long-Term; Open-ended
  • Counselling; Therapy
  • Counsellor; Therapist

What Type of Counselling is Best for Me?

Both Brief and Open Ended Counselling work very well, the type of counselling you decide to undertake will depend on a number of things including

  • What you want to talk about in the sessions and also what you want to get from those sessions.
  • Whether you have a budget or time constraint.
  • How quickly you work, some people process things faster than others, it’s important to work at a pace that suits you.

During the Assessment we will talk about what is best for you, taking all factors into consideration.

Why Choose Brief (Short-Term) Therapy

Not all counselling needs to be Open-Ended (Long-Term) in fact Brief Therapy can work very well for many issues.  Brief Therapy with me as your counsellor would mainly include Brief Solution Focused Therapy. alongside Acceptance and Committment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques, if and when appropriate to the work.

The emphasis on Brief therapy will be

  • Clear therapeutic goals – what do you hope to get from the sessions and how do you hope to feel at the end of the counselling, this could include
    • Ways to improve your confidence
    • Way to manage your anxiety
    • Coping strategies for stress
    • Finding ways of being more assertive
  • Exploring what stops you (what blocks might be in place) that prevent you feeling confident or assertive
  • Finding coping strategies that work for you, accessing resources and strengths which will help you to cope with stressful situations or anxious feelings
  • Re-framing negative and unhelpful thoughts to alternative more helpful thoughts and feelings

Please note this is not coaching & I will not tell you what to do nor how to do it.  The work will focus on me helping you find your own answers, solutions and strategies.

Brief (Solution-Focused) Therapy can be helpful if….

  • You are looking to make some specific changes and are unsure how or where to begin
    • Solution Focused Therapy can help you to focus on the goals you want to achieve and can assist you in exploring what might be causing you to feel stuck as well as thinking about what steps you need to take in order to get there.
  • You are a client who has previously had counselling but you are experiencing a blip.
    • Brief  Therapy could help you to top up your coping strategies and re-acquaint you with your strengths and resources.
  • You are concerned about finances and have a fixed budget or have a time constraint to consider.
    • Brief (Solution Focused) Therapy can be helpful by focusing on the most immediate issue that is concerning you.
  • You think you might need longer term counselling in the future, but need to firstly put some strategies in place to cope with the your immediate feelings.
    • The short term counselling would give you an indication of what it is you want to focus on in the longer term work, the things you want to address in greater depth.
    • It might be that during your short term counselling you would like to continue this work with me, in which case we would continue to work on a longer term (open ended) basis.

Timescales for Brief (Solution Focused) therapy can range from 4 to 12 weeks, although I would recommend a minimum of 6 sessions.

If you are unsure if Brief (Solution Focused) Therapy – Short Term Counselling is for you please contact me to discuss further contact page.

Why Choose Open-Ended (Long Term) Counselling

  • There may be times in your life when you notice that you keep repeating patterns, this could be in your relationships or in other aspects of your life, this might leave you feel puzzled and wondering why this is so.
  • You may have some unresolved issues from your past which are impacting your daily life.  These could include losses you have experienced or a trauma childhood or otherwise.
  • You may be stuck in a cycle of grief and finding it difficult to move forward with your life.
  • You are experiencing long term depression and find it a struggle to cope.
  • You are looking to undertake some personal development.

Embarking on some open-ended Counselling means that we do not fix the number of sessions at the start of the counselling, you start on the premise that you need some support to resolve an issue and the work will end when you feel you have achieved this.  That is not to say that the work won’t finish in 8 or 12 sessions, what it means is that we allow the work to develop organically and see where it takes us.  We would review regularly to ensure that we are continuing along the right track for you.

Open-Ended Counselling with Shirley Baxter

As with any counselling during the assessment we would talk about what you hope to get from the sessions and how you hope to feel at the end of the counselling, this is important so that when we do our session reviews we know we are still heading in the right direction.  My role will be to be guided by you and to be alongside you in this work.   By working in an open-ended manner we also have scope to divert and look in greater depths at other parts of your life that might be impacting on the issue you want to address.

If you would like to book an assessment or if you have some further questions about open-ended counselling please contact me to discuss further contact page.