A common question I often receive in a first phone call or session with a client is, “how long does this process last?” This is somewhat of a loaded question. Most often I tell clients 12-15 sessions but that varies from client to client.
Research has shown that meeting weekly for approximately 12 sessions has the best trajectory for positive outcomes. This timeline may vary based on the client’s availability, finances, and therapy goals. Often times you will start by meeting with your therapist weekly and then slowly spread out your meetings to every other week, then every three weeks, then once a month, and so on and so forth.
You and your therapist will together identify goals for your work within 2-4 sessions. These goals are how both you and the therapist will measure your progress over the duration of your work together. For some, reaching those goals may be as quick as 10 sessions or less, for others, it may be a longer process spanning multiple months or possibly a year or more.
Specific factors that affect the length of treatment are:
- Treatment goals
- Level of trauma, past or recent.
- Level of client’s experience with identified problem, i.e. is the identified issue(s) interrupting your day-to-day life or more of an circumstantial problem?
- Client’s Desire, i.e. does the client feel the need to come week to week to try to alleviate symptoms or do they feel a bi weekly pace feels sufficient to working towards their goals. Occasionally a client may also feel the need to come in more than once a week to work towards their goals..
None of the factors are determinative and it is impossible to predict the exact length needed for effective therapy to occur. I will note that in my experience the client’s desire for change is most important. An individual who is motivated and committed to the therapy journey will often have more effective sessions leading to a fewer number of sessions, quality over quantity.
If you believe you may be ready to start your counseling journey, give us a call at (502) 414-1301.