Short-term therapy, also known as brief therapy, requires only a few visits.
Dr. Lazarus is neither a psychiatrist nor a psychologist, and he knows the limits of his training and the limits of medical hypnosis. He screens his patients carefully, and if hypnosis is the only form of treatment that the patient requires, there is typically significant improvement after only 1 to 3 visits.
If there is an anxiety component, the treatment is usually longer. For patients with anxiety, Dr. Lazarus will incorporate both medical hypnosis and cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. In this situation, he tells the patient, “We will meet 4 times and then reassess how things are going. If we are making progress, great! If not, we will consider other options.”
Patients with certain problems require long-term therapy, and they are referred to other, more appropriate, professionals. Dr. Lazarus does not treat patients for depression and he refers these patients to clinicians who specialize in this condition.