How Long Should I Be In Therapy For?
A common question that I get asked is, “How long is this going to take?”
Depending on what the issue/s you are coming for therapy are about, there is usually no set period of time, it is different for each person. I often say to the people that see me, “It has taken months, years or decades to be the way you are today, so it will take a little while to unpack, learn and relearn a different way.” Thankfully it will not take as long to unpack and relearn, however, how long it will take is different for each person. The important question I always ask is, “Are you willing to give yourself permission to pause, unpack and gain some self-awareness and understanding so that you can choose differently?” For some the concept of giving themselves permission is an eye-opening first.
We live in a fast paced culture where we are multi-tasking and juggling many things and want instant results and instant gratification. There are also many competing things wanting us to ‘sort this out’. However, there are no quick fixes or fast results when it comes to how you think, feel and behave. It will take time, patience, perseverance and building resilience, which is the opposite to what our society is telling us.
Therapy is a step by step process and unfortunately there are no short cuts. When you are staring down the path at the beginning of your journey, the path seems too long, too painful and so far from where you want to be. But as you start to take each step, each moment and each session at a time, you will find that you are one step closer.
It is a journey of discovery and you might find unexpected treasures along the way, things you did not even know you were looking for. But that is what therapy is like sometimes; it gives you the time and space to discover, or rediscover things that you might have lost along the way.
So as you stare down the path at the beginning of your journey, know that I am journeying with you the whole way. I might not know where you are going to take me, and maybe you do not know either, but we seek to understand the journey together. You might get lost or meander on different paths along the way to see what scenary is there, but you will get to the end of the path, and you will know when it is time to finish therapy.