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How Long Will I Need Therapy?

Whether it's online therapy for yourself or in-person family counseling, find out the factors that determine the length of treatment
How long will I need therapy

If you're considering therapy or seeing a therapist currently, you may be wondering how long the therapy process will take. To answer the question candidly, there is no certain answer to this question!

The therapeutic process has many elements that determine the length of treatment, including:

  • The goals identified in therapy, your background including your childhood issues

  • Any recent traumas or ones that are rooted deeply in your past

  • Existing mental health conditions

  • The treatment the therapist uses

  • The severity of your symptoms

It's very difficult to say how long you may need to talk to a therapist because therapy is not meant as a quick-fix. You may find during the course of treatment that some of your presenting issues go deeper than you initially thought. You may come into therapy for a specific issue or concern and solution-based therapy can make a significant positive impact on your life. You may find within 6-8 weeks with working with a therapist you can unravel your thoughts, emotions and be able to cope with the situation with more ease.

Usually, from the beginning, your therapist will ask your goals for therapy and during the time you spend together, they will offer you feedback so you can identify the transitions that you are going through.

If you have gone into therapy with complex childhood traumas you may find it takes time and during this time it is important to be gentle on yourself and work through the issues with your therapist.**** It is a time of patience and exploration. You may feel that it's not working for you, perhaps your therapist has left you feeling a little unsettled with the pace of therapy, maybe it's too fast or too slow… these are all normal parts of the therapeutic process.

Finding a safe space with your therapist, you can begin to find your way again in life. No therapist can "fix" you but they can offer you coping skills, help you to change negative thinking patterns and behavior, work on your interpersonal relationships and to set goals. They may also encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone and challenge your usual routine.

There are also many different types of therapy approaches and you might find that cognitive behavioral therapists' work in a shorter time-frame than some psychodynamic trained therapists'. One of the most useful things about working with a therapist is the feedback you will receive. This is a useful tool at seeing how therapy is working for you. Perhaps your therapist may be able to point out the blind spots in your own personality. Maybe these have been holding you back and once you have identified these perhaps you find that you are able to live your own life with more freedom and happiness.

Working with your therapist and being honest with them will mean you get the most out of therapy. If you're wondering if you should let your therapist know that you wish to finish working with them, this is your decision! If you want to work on particular goals with your therapist or change the direction of the therapeutic process at any time, it's important that you address this with them.

So whilst there are no answers as to how long you may need therapy for, as each person and therapist is different, you can expect to find positive changes in your life once you embark on this journey. Working with a therapist that you connect with emotionally can have so many significant benefits and is often a life-changing experience.

**Ready to talk to a therapist? Connect with a certified online therapist now.

Posted: 11 February 2019
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Lisa Meighan, MBPsS

Lisa is a licensed mental health counselor with an eclectic style of therapy to fit every client

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