Before you start therapy, one of the questions that goes through your mind might be for how long you need to for counseling before the problem is ‘fixed.’ Now, whether a problem can be fixed within a time frame or not depends a lot on what the problem is. Depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and addiction are issues that can recur over a very long period of time.
On the other hand, a problem which is related to an immediate event might take a shorter period to resolve. While the question of a time period isn’t a moot point for seeking therapy, it might be something that determines how you choose to approach it.
Discuss it with your therapist. After the first couple of meetings your therapist can probably gauge how many sessions you might need, or if your issue is a long-term one that needs regular support. In the initial stages, your sessions might happen more frequently, even on a weekly basis, and this could reduce over time.
There might be an organic reduction in the number of sessions you attend. Over a period of a year, you might find therapy could become more of a support base that needs less visiting. However, this might also change depending on immediate causes or life events. So give yourself the option of maintaining your relationship with your therapist on the basis of your own needs.
A fixed idea of the time frame is not necessary to go ahead with therapy. Unlike with a physical issue that brings you to a doctor, therapy doesn’t necessarily work on a fixed timeline. There is a need for progress, but it doesn’t have to be limited by time. However, if financial considerations require some sort of structure, then try and keep your sessions paced out so that they form a regular support rather than a fire-fighting approach.
It also depends on the form of therapy you take up. Psychoanalysis usually involves something of a long-term relationship, whereas cognitive behavioural therapy might take a shorter time frame. But again, it’s directly co-related to the severity of your problem, so it’s best to discuss it with your therapist after the first or second session.
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