The last two decades have seen unprecedented increases in health care costs and, at the same time, encouraging progress in psychotherapy research. On the one hand, accountability, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency have now become commonplace terms for providers of mental health services whereas, on the other hand, an increasingly voluminous literature has emerged supporting the effectiveness of a number of types of psychotherapies. There now exists the possibility for the design and delivery of mental health services that-drawing upon this literature-more closely approximate empirically established data concerning the appropriateness and effectiveness of psychotherapy. The Handbook of the Brief Psychotherapies is intended to capture one major thrust of this movement: the development of a group of empirically grounded, time-limited therapies all sharing a common interest in the clinical utilization of a structured focus and an emphasis on time and action. For many years, professional self-interest, competing theoretical para digms, and the vagaries of practice, wisdom, and clinical myth have influenced the practice of psychotherapy. A critical questioning of the resulting, predomi nantly nondirective, open-ended, and global therapies has led to a growing emphasis on action-oriented, problem-focused, time-limited therapies. Yet, ironically, this interest in the brief psychotherapies has not so much involved a radical departure from traditional therapeutic modalities as it has emphasized a new pragmatism about how time, action, and structure operate in life as well as in therapy.