When you think of therapy, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? There’s a huge misconception that going to therapy is just for sick
How Often Should You Go To Therapy?
Ideally, how often you attend therapy should be a conversation between you and your therapist. This depends on the type of treatment you need and how difficult your specific situation is. There is no fixed frequency for therapy, but some methods are more specific than others. It is recommended that when you begin attending therapy and start getting to know your therapist you leave less time between those sessions. You make more progress when you go consistently, so even if you have been going to therapy for a while, it is better to try to attend more regularly. You could have a really great session with someone and if you have too much time between, you lose that momentum. Some of the most common types of sessions are weekly and biweekly.
Keep in mind that there are many different treatment types, and some (like psychoanalysis for example) require you to see a therapist more often. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ and you can use a combination of these schedules. Whatever works best for you. It is highly recommended, however, that for the first 4-6 weeks that you are going to therapy you make it a weekly occurrence. This gives you an opportunity to build trust and establish that routine, making the process exponentially easier later.
Weekly sessions can be beneficial in a variety of ways. For example:
- You are trying to break out of old patterns and reprogramming new ways of thinking. Having weekly sessions can really reinforce these skills.
- You are working on developing new skills. This could be: coping, communication, mindfulness, or social skills.
- You are working through a specific problem that shows up in your day-to-day life (anxiety, divorce, trauma, depression, behavioral issues).
This type is a big investment of your time and resources, but if you begin with weekly sessions and continue, it will help you get where you want to be faster. Biweekly sessions may make you feel more fatigued and less invested in your therapy practice because it will feel longer. Obviously this is not the case for everyone, but if you are the kind of person who needs more structure and consistency, weekly sessions may be better for you.
Another one of the most common types of therapy sessions. Biweekly sessions are good for when:
- You have been attending therapy for a little bit and you see progress (less anxiety/depression and other healthier habits). You are able to practice these skills on your own and apply what you learned in real-world situations.
- You are using therapy sessions as a means to be proactive rather than have an urgent concern. This is good for when you are doing work to better yourself and able to do work on your own between sessions. This could be meditation, journaling, establishing better routines, and more.
It is recommended that you start with those weekly sessions before starting biweekly, but if your therapist believes you would benefit from biweekly sessions, that is up to you and them.
This is probably the most urgent type of treatment. These sessions are most helpful for when:
- You are currently in a crisis, meaning that your safety and functioning is in question. For example, you have reached a place where you no longer can work or go to school, are self-harming, or are unsafe in general.
- You are in the process of making a big transition or big decision in your life and need extra support to stay healthy and okay.
- Your therapist is using a therapy technique (like psychoanalysis) that requires having more sessions.
Unless there is a specific issue going on, it is unlikely that your therapist will recommend multiple sessions per week. However, if you are concerned, this is a great way to gain more support and hold yourself accountable.
Your relationship with your therapist should feel entirely collaborative. At the end of the day, it is your process and you are free to change it whenever you need to. Give feedback to your therapist on what you need to feel supported and comfortable. They really are there for you and your needs. Set goals with your therapist so you can work together to find the routine that works best for you. Since there is no ‘perfect’ treatment schedule for everyone, really work to make the experience as positive for you as it can be.
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