New clients sometimes ask how long I think the therapy will take. The answer depends on a number of interrelated issues such as the changes you want to make, where you are in your life and how deep you want to go. What happens in the therapeutic relationship is something that develops organically and unfolds differently for each unique individual. It is therefore not possible to forecast how long at the beginning with any degree of accuracy. I prefer to start in an open ended way and assess with you at regular intervals how the process is going and how much progress has been made. You can of course stop at any time and ideally this is something which would be discussed and agreed on in advance.
Some people have a specific issue which they want to discuss and become clearer about. Here we together work on insight and awareness about the root of the issue and focus on personal change and ways of moving forward. You may feel more comfortable for financial or emotional reasons in agreeing a certain number of sessions. I am happy to work in this way for between 6 to 20 sessions. Sometimes people come with a particular issue but as the work proceeds realise that there are deeper underlying issues and want to go further in this case we can re-contract for an open ended engagement.
Experience and evidence show that both psychotherapy and counselling are more effective when there are regular sessions at predictable intervals. I arrange my sessions at the same time and on the same day each week. If people work shifts, I may be able to work flexibly to accommodate them. If the therapy continues over a longer period we will agree holiday periods. Breaks are important so you can integrate and consolidate the work but continuity and regularity are also important so 40 weeks per year plus is recommended in a longer term therapy. Sometimes it is beneficial, if viable, to meet more than once a week to treat deeper underlying issues more quickly and effectively.