Brief therapies

Brief therapies work is based on an “alliance” between the patient and the therapist – it is not at all a work during which the person speaks and I listen. We are in continuous dialogue in brief therapy. I bring my know-how and experience to the table and the client brings her/his sincerity, will to change and desire to work in tandem with me – and his or her expertise on who they are. That “alliance” is among the most important criteria of brief therapy.

What are brief therapies?

The discovery of brief therapies

Two American psychologists, Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck, discovered another way to perform therapy in the 1960s.

Let’s take the example of Aaron Beck.

Everything started when he looked for an evidence base for psychoanalysis, and was very troubled to see that it was not that convincing. Successful psychoanalysis, he felt, depended as much or more on the quality of the psychoanalyst than the technique that is used.

One day during a session with a female patient, Beck saw a sudden, major shift in her affect as she was telling him a story. When he asked her what she was thinking, she replied: “I thought you were bored by what I was telling you”.

Beck suddenly had the new insight that is the main idea behind cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): it is literally that what we think causes our emotions, and not the contrary. CBT is today recognized as the most efficient therapy with the broadest evidence base when treating anxiety, depression, phobias… Beck went on to develop what is known today as the “cognitive model”: when one experiences a thought causing anxiety, that thought reflects our basic beliefs and creates three effects:

  • an emotional reaction,
  • physiological symptoms and,
  • an often unadapted behavior because the thought is distorted with regard to reality.

He therefore developed CBT, a mix of cognitive work and a behavioral work. In this work, he was amazed to see that it was much more efficient and much quicker than psychoanalysis; so much so that he started running short on patients, as he cured them so rapidly! It was the beginning of brief therapy.

Your Visual Mind, Deborah Mends, hypnothérapeute : insomnie, anxiété, arrêt du tabac, coaching personnel, phobies, habitudes & dépendances...

How does a brief therapy session go?

You come to my office in Auray.

The first appointment lasts two hours. I take that time for psychological tests. You tell me your story so that I understand how you work, to get a grasp of specific things, if you have phobias, fears. That time is also there to give you the opportunity to see if you feel comfortable with me, if you feel, though it’s only two hours, that you can trust me. All the work we’ll do together depends on that.

Together, we decide on a plan of action, on a treatment. Of course, we can never perfectly predict the number of sessions. But we can do a lot of things in six sessions, and with ten sessions we can be pretty sure you will experience significant, measurable change. At that point we will redo your tests to see how much progress you have made, and then we will discuss your decision about whether to go on or not, based on the progress you have made.

The second session consists of putting together your goals for our work together, and if we have time, a first hypnotherapy session.

Which tools do I use?

I use two principal types of tools during the consultations:

  • hypnosis,
  • and cognitive-behavioral therapies (CBT).


I am a hypnotherapist, not a hypnotist. My purpose is not to use a few magic gestures in order to solve a problem. While it is a brief therapy, we’ll need more than one or two sessions to bring deep and lasting change, especially if your past is complex. You’ll have to fully participate actively in our work together because hypnosis is not something that I do to you – and please note, if you are not open to my helping you go into hypnosis, there is nothing I can do to force it.

It is because hypnosis is, very simply put, a state of natural, ordinary relaxation, in which one can focus on a topic, a theme, an emotion… One loses track of time while staying perfectly conscious, or have the impression of slightly dozing. While it is not exactly the same thing, it looks a bit like meditation.

We all often are in a state of hypnosis, even several times a day: in front of the television, for instance, or in a car on a freeway. My work as a hypnotherapist, then, is not to magically put you in a trance. It’s simply to help you get into that natural state precisely when we are in a session. Why? Because in that state, if you so wish, your unconscious is more prone to accept and integrate the positive suggestions that I give you to achieve your goals. Through that reinforcement, you will be able to bring the changes that you are making.

I am a therapist who uses hypnosis as the main tool – in a way, imagination therapy – to put your visual mind to work for positive change.

Cognitive-behavioral therapies (CBT)

CBT therapies are different from other psychotherapies in several ways. CBT focuses on behavioral and cognitive disorders, in other words: less useful thoughts and behaviors. The medical community English-speaking countries recognizes CBT as the form of psychotherapy with the most solid scientific basis. Its efficiency and brevity explain why it is the most popular form of psychotherapy in hospital psychiatric services in the United Kingdom or the States, for instance.

In which situations should you consult me?

You can make an appointment today to discuss one of the following topics: