How long is long enough?

How long is long enough?

It’s one of the hardest questions to answer from a client. How many sessions do you think I will need?

It’s just like the question how long is a piece of string?

I have worked with people who got what they wanted from one session, others needed years.

I recommend giving the start of therapy six sessions. This six session model has become a bit of a standard. It gives the client and counsellor some time to get to know each other which I believe is the most part of the therapeutic process. There is time to address a specific issue the client wants to focus on and maybe see some results.

I say maybe because it really does depend on the issue. For example, if the client wants to use the space to offload about some work related stuff that is going on, then this can happen.

Some clients have an initial group of sessions and then come back later. E.g. they may want a few techniques for improving their behaviour when they are angry. They can get these and then take some time to put these into practice. They may choose to continue therapy during this process or take and break and come back to explore the results.

There are some issues that clients bring that may have built up over years and may need longer term work. Low self esteem, anxiety, bereavement and depression can take time to work on and it’s impossible to guarantee the outcomes or how long it will take. But there are always exceptions to this and sometimes the six sessions are enough.

It may be that the six sessions are enough for right now and the client may find what they are really looking for is coping mechanisms for the present time so that in the future when they are in a better place they can address more of the underlying issues.

So the answer to the question is no real help I suspect for people. All I can say is that when people commit to the process I have seen real change occur and I believe it is possible for anyone. Give yourself time to heal from the wounds of the past.