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How Long Does Counseling Last? The Average Length of Therapy

When Will I Experience the Positive Results of Counseling?

You might be wondering, “How long does therapy last? When will I start to experience the positive results of counseling?”

There's no one-size fits all answer to these questions, but we can explore the multitude of factors that go into determining the amount of time you might spend in therapy.

Determining the length of therapy

There are so many factors that contribute to the experience you'll have when working with your therapist, and we can't make concrete promises on how quickly we can work our magic. Once we've spoken with you and gotten to know your individual situation we might be able to give you a rough timeline to consider, but even then it's impossible to make a concrete promise.

With that disclaimer in mind, here are some factors that can impact your experience:

  • How much engagement, participation, effort, and commitment you bring with you

  • The nature of your symptoms, including the severity and quantity

  • Your resilience

  • Support from family and friends

  • Patterns in your family of origin (our pasts and where we come from matter!)

  • Your willingness to be open and honest with your therapist

Some people enter therapy with a specific concern or area of focus. In these cases, your counseling timeline might be relatively quick. The techniques being used also play a role. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy is a solutions-focused method where you might see your therapist once per week for 45-50 minutes over the course of three to six months.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, some issues run deeper and can't be resolved so quickly. It might take months, or even years, to dig deep and discover the reasons behind your feelings and struggles. Even if your personal therapy timeline is on the longer end, you'll be glad you made a commitment to counseling.

Just remember: One person might be in therapy for a few short weeks, and another might continue with treatment for years. There's no single “right way”.

How often should I come to therapy?

Again, the answer to this question is different for every person. Many times you'll begin by meeting once a week for an hour.

You'll work with your individual therapist to determine a counseling plan that works best for your needs and situation.

The importance of building a relationship with your therapist

When choosing a therapist, find one who you trust and can develop a rapport with. If you aren't comfortable communicating openly and honestly with your therapist it's going to be very difficult to make progress.

If you want to get the most out of counseling you'll have to develop a good relationship with your therapist. This type of strong relationship might even help reduce the length of time you spend in counseling, especially when you're willing to put in the work.