How long will I need to go?
How long you have sessions with your therapist depends on what your counselling needs are, and what pace is comfortable for you to work on your goals.
Some people prefer to meet frequently, like once a week, some prefer to meet once a month. Some people are concerned with finances and only book sessions when they can afford to.
It is most common for clients to book every other week for about 5-6 sessions, but your pace is up to you!
What is 'Short Term' Counselling?
Some of the mental health issues we deal with fit easily into a few sessions. The goals you want to accomplish are specific, and you know if you reach these goals, you will be functioning well, and have the skills you need to carry on. These issues fit with -Short Term- counselling (1-5 sessions):
Here are some examples:
-having increased anxiety, and wanting to learn ways of coping at work/home.
-Want to learn new communication patterns within a stable relationship.
-Brushing up on skills learned in past counselling sessions
-Talking through an upsetting event at work
EAP programs often will cover enough sessions for you to work through short term issues. It's a great way to bolster your daily functioning!
When your goal has been reached, it's time to end sessions! (And celebrate your success!)
What is 'Long Term' Counselling?
Life is complex! It's not uncommon for us to have issues that have been with us for years...
-impact from childhood trauma
- different types of grief
-longstanding conflict with family or spouse
-chronic mental health conditions
These types of issues may require some time to work with your therapist (5+ sessions).
If you determine with your therapist that more support is needed than a few sessions, you can decide what's the best schedule to do this work. You may want to meet frequently (weekly) at first to gain some progress, and then reduce sessions to monthly. You and your therapist can check in every so often to measure your progress. This type of therapy often hinges on -good therapeutic alliance-, or relationship with your therapist. Building trust and comfortable space over time means you can allow your vulnerability to show up in sessions..and this may be vital to helping you heal from those issues.
You and your therapist can decide when it's time to end sessions, and that's something to celebrate!
Simple steps to help you improve your mental health right now:
Go for a walk in nature
Call or text a good friend
Take your medication(s) as prescribed by your doctor
Try a new hobby
Eat a well-balanced meal
Spend time with your pet
Use some grounding techniques: identify 3 things you can see, 2 things you can hear, one thing you can touch, and let yourself absorb that information, together with conscious, steady breathing. Let this presence give you the calm you need to 'centre' yourself in a busy or overwhelming moment.