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How long does it take for therapy to start working?

31 Answers
Last Updated: 07/15/2019 at 9:14am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Brenda King, PsyD


I treat life changes, women’s issues, and issues of aging using evidence-based treatments with healthy doses of warmth, empathy and humor to enhance healing and growth.

Top Rated Answers
April 25th, 2015 8:19am
Everybody is different therefore therapy takes different amount of time to see progress. But you have to remember to not give up and to keep going because it will really improve what are going through.
May 9th, 2015 6:55pm
When I first had therapy, it took a good few months before I felt any different. Infact it got worse for a while but it DOES get better. I promise.
January 24th, 2015 8:33am
well, sometimes it takes a lot of time. but if you've got a good therapist, you will feel so much better after every single therapy (:
June 30th, 2015 6:25pm
At least a couple times of going, sometimes therapy don't work, it depends on how you think of yourself, if you will get better or not, if you think it won't than it won't but if you think it will than I will.
October 26th, 2015 3:08am
It really depends upon the person. For some, it could start right away. For others, it could take a while. It depends upon the state in which you are in when you first start.
October 26th, 2015 4:52am
It depends for each individual and also what we personally define as working. On the first day we might start noticing little changes or realizing what we have been doing that is affecting us and how to modify our thinking. Other times, we might feel like it takes many session before we start seing positive change. The important is to practice what we learn in therapy and to give it a few try before we decide that it isn't for us. Not everyone (few in fact) can change old habits in one day. Keep practicing.
March 6th, 2018 3:47pm
It depends on the type of therapy. SSRIs take 4-6 weeks to see an effect typically. For CBT, there is no defined time. People all respond differently. The key is to learn coping skills, and implement them ASAP. You will see a better turn around as you make these mechanisms part of your everyday life.
May 8th, 2015 9:51am
I think it depends on the person. Some won't see therapy as helping, I know I didn't. But now I look back it really did help to have someone there solely to help me during my difficulties. I think everyone should try it even if you don't think it is working at the time :)
July 6th, 2015 2:39pm
Therapy is a practice. There is no on and off switch for being able to deal with life. As you work with the tools and coping mechanisms that you learn through therapy it can certainly become easier but mental health is generally a life long practice.
July 21st, 2015 8:32pm
Therapy works when you want it to work. Once you have an open mind and is ready to start to take the advice of your therapist, it'll start to work more.
July 15th, 2019 9:14am
The effectiveness of therapy is very individualized. There is no fail-proof, cover-all therapy approach that works for all individuals every time. The length of time we each need to spend in therapy before we begin feeling some sense of relief is different for every person and every circumstance. Some of us may begin noticing some alleviation of their feelings of stress after a couple of therapeutic sessions while other of us may need extended counseling before we notice any changes. Every one is different. While you and I may have experienced very similar circumstances, our reactions and feelings regarding those experiences can be very different. Relatedly, the types of therapy and length of time we spend visiting our therapists can be very different.
January 29th, 2015 8:32am
Therapy results depend on the intensity of suffering but some immediate relief is possible. It may take time to see the results in the cases of chronic pain or suffering.
February 19th, 2015 4:28am
It depends on the specific therapy, and the individual. For medication therapies, the delay in response varies widely between the specific drug in question. Other therapies, like talk therapy, will depend upon you, your symptoms/pathology, and the practitioner.
March 6th, 2015 7:22pm
I think how long therapy takes to start working totally depends on the person and the issue you are experiencing. I think it's helpful for everyone to see a therapist regularly (weekly or monthly). You might experience some relief immediately, but it can also take a long time to feel relief. Hang in there!
May 14th, 2015 4:04pm
The effects of therapy don't stick to a strict schedule, its as unique as every individual going for therapy. Its important to find a therapist you feel comfortable with, the quality of the relationship is crucial to getting the results you want, however don't rush yourself, it could be long after therapy ends that you have that 'light bulb' moment where something clicks for you.
May 23rd, 2015 4:40pm
It depends on a lot of factors and whether you're recieving more outside support whether that's through friends or medication. When you see postive changes in yourself you'll know you're making progress!
July 8th, 2015 10:44am
Even if it may not seem like that at first, therapy is a form of relationship too. It doesn't work if both the therapist and the client are making efforts to move forward. So it's "working" as long as both are trying to make some sense of it.
September 8th, 2015 9:41pm
It's different for each person, but it will never be immediate. Just like when your body gets injured, it takes time for your mind to heal.
September 15th, 2015 4:20pm
It's really different for everyone. Some patients start feeling a little better two weeks into therapy, some only start to feel better in a few years. But either way, therapy is a great way to vent your feelings and problems, and if you have a really great therapist, hopefully therapy will start working sooner than later:)
November 23rd, 2015 9:39pm
It depends. You can't have an exact answer. Some people it can take days, or weeks, or months, years even. You can't completely determine when it will start working. When it starts working you know it will
December 29th, 2015 4:23am
Therapy can have very different effects on everyone. For some, just talking about their problems is all they need to feel better. For others, they need solutions and guidance from a therapist. Depending on who you are, seeing a therapist can start working at very different times. But on thing is true: seeing a therapist is the way to go for dealing with serious issues.
January 4th, 2016 11:10am
It varies depending on the person and what they are taking therapy for. I can be a long time or no time at all.
April 18th, 2016 12:02pm
Everyone is different, it could take a few months or a bit longer, its up to you. Its ok to take your time to recover.
May 9th, 2016 5:24pm
Change begins with oneself, so the more determined the person, the faster it works but then again its how much faith the person has in the therapist, his confidence in the person he is confiding his secrets. But to quantify it with a timeline i'd say we would see change in a week to ten days on regular sessions.
June 6th, 2016 12:59am
Everyone is different but talking about what bothers you can help a lot. We are all here to help you work through anything that is bothering you.
January 16th, 2017 11:13pm
For therapy to work it really depends on the person to see how long it takes for it to work. They have to be willing to try new things to help them, the more willing the person is, the more likely chance that it will kick in. There are times when some types don't work, but there are plenty of ways of treatment that a person can try. They just have to find one that is best suited for them.
July 24th, 2017 1:40am
It depends on the individual! Some people feel better right after the first session, some people don't feel better until a few months later, some people don't realise the therapy worked until they finish going to it. Wait at least a few months and see if it works for you or not. You can always request a new therapist if your current one isn't working for you.
August 7th, 2017 4:18am
Therapy takes a different amount of time for every one because all circumstances are unique. Therpay begins to work the moment you allow it to. For some this moment is right when they start because the realization that you need help and are strong enough to seek it is the first path in accepting that help.
October 17th, 2017 3:49pm
It depends on your reasons for therapy. But if you're open to it, it doesnt take too long :) Believe in yourself and be open to the healing process
February 13th, 2018 10:27pm
For me it was about 5-6 months. I was really stubborn and didn't let my brain loosen up. But after 6 months the therapy started to working.