Although Americans Feel Good About Counseling and going to therapy has shed much of its shameful reputation, many seeking mental health treatment express confusion about the therapeutic process itself.
Even before the first appointment is scheduled, you might ask us, “How long does therapy take?” Since we don’t yet know you, it’s impossible to provide an answer. You are so uniquely different from every other client your therapist has seen. What works for one client may not work for another. But there are a few factors that go into the length of your therapeutic treatment.
Therapy Is Tailored to the Individual
Some come to us with a specific challenge or goal in mind. Others may want to take a more general approach, seeking overall personal growth and increased self-awareness.
In your first therapy session, your therapist will ask about your therapy goals and expectations. If your child is being seen, the therapist will meet with a parent or parents and learn what their goals are for their child.
Some common therapy goals include:
- Overcoming phobias or anxieties, such as a phobia of flying or extreme social anxiety
- Learning to process and move on from grief
- Healing negative relationships with family members or friends
- Understanding and processing past traumas that are affecting one’s current life
Your unique circumstances and goals, often times changing along the course of therapy, will direct the type and length of treatment. Therapy could last just a few sessions, or it could take months to yield the results you’re looking for. There really is no one-size-fits-all approach.
What Factors Affect Therapy Timelines?
The length of treatment depends on several factors:
- The client’s age and stage of life. A child’s developmental stage will affect therapy style and length. Adult therapy depends on what the individual is struggling with and where they are in their own healing journey. How much is there to be uncovered? And how do we manage or handle what is discovered during the course of therapy?
- The past. No two people are entirely alike, so individuals enter therapy with differing histories and therefore treatment goals. Past traumas, life experiences, diverse upbringings, and responses to the aforementioned all contribute to a person’s current composition.
- Current resources and support networks. Support from family, friends, teachers and other relationships can significantly impact one’s healing journey. The more encouragement one receives, the more effective therapeutic treatment can be.
- Dedication to the work. Going to therapy is more than just hashing through issues and challenges. Your therapist will introduce tools and coping skills designed to improve your experiences. The degree to which therapy is successful can hinge directly on practicing and integrating these skills into your daily life. Nobody can do that but you!
- Changing circumstances and goals. Therapy is often extended as life circumstances or therapy goals change. When you find a therapist who gets you, they know your history and have come to learn your thought patterns and reactions, your therapist often becomes the person you turn to as other challenges arise.
What’s the Bottom Line?
We know you’re eager to have an answer to specifically “how long does therapy take.” It’s helpful to think of therapy in the same context as working out at the gym.
We don’t decide to get fit, go to the gym 2 or 3 times, and expect to come out looking like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, right? Getting fit requires discipline, lifestyle changes, and working toward your goals, one day at a time.
Therapy is much the same. Reaching your therapy goals will take diligence, commitment, and integrating the tools and skills you learn in therapy. This right here is the greatest forecaster of how quickly you’re progress toward your therapy goals.
Contact Creative Counseling Center
Are you ready to try therapy? Request a Free Phone Consultation by completing the brief form below. A member of our team will reach out to you. After speaking, we will be able to help you determine whether our practice and which “solution-focused” therapist would be the best fit for you. If our practice is not ideal for you or your loved one, we are happy to offer recommendations to possible providers in the Denver metro area.