Strategic Psychotherapy is a term coined by Jay Hayley to describe a kind of therapy where the therapist is responsible for making considered decisions about how to help the client get to where they want to go. It was a reaction against “insight therapies” where insight is elevated over action.
Jay Haley and Milton Erickson
Jay Hayley spent a considerable amount of time with Dr Milton Erickson and favoured a more proactive, some might say interventionist approach to therapy. A strategic therapist will seek to recognise the client’s problem and strategically maneuver that client into recognising how they create the problem, and the gaps in their experiential knowledge that support the problem.
Strategic therapy is client-centered, but is therapist-led. The client is the one who is the expert in having the problem, but the therapist is the one who is more likely to be the expert in resolving the problem.
A strategic therapist is not likely to create a 26-week treatment plan and wait patiently while the client explores their past and their inner world in the hope they will stumble upon some deep and meaningful insight. A strategic therapist will lead the client to the answer and help the client utilize whatever strengths they have to overcome the issue.
It is brief therapy and can be applied through the vehicle of many forms of psychotherapy and coaching.
For us as strategic therapists, therapy is learning. Clients must learn to operate differently in the world if they hope to get substantively different outcomes. Our job is to teach the client new skills to arm them with a process for this change.
In our experience, strategic approaches offer comparably fast and effective outcomes compared to many other models.
For us, strategic approaches offer a highly effective approach to talk therapy. If you agree with this, then ISPA could be your spiritual home for years to come.