Therapy worries: How long do I have to go?
I can’t tell you how many times I am asked this question. From friends, family, and clients.
This concern comes up early on whenever someone learns what I do for my job. People desperately want to know the timetable.
I have worried about it for myself when beginning working with a therapist. I think to myself, is this really worth it? What if I don’t get anything out of it?
How long? As long as it takes
You will only keep going to see your therapist as long as it is serving you. If you’ve never gone to see a therapist, you might wonder or worry, “If I start going, does that mean I’ll be going for the rest of my life?”
Want the honest answer? Yes. You very well could begin therapy now and then be working with a therapist off and on for the rest of your life.
But the other side of that is, no. You might begin a therapy relationship now and then after some time stop going.
There are many reasons why both answers can be true.
This is for the rest of your life
There are plenty of people who have a therapist as part of their regular self-care routine. Spending time once a week or twice a month, just working through your shit can be very healing.
If you’ve met someone who stopped going to their therapist after a short while, “because I am better now”. That may be true. But it is also possible they just haven’t found the right fit.
An objective, warm, and supportive therapist with whom you feel safe and can trust is massively valuable.
But when am I cured? Would a better therapist fix me sooner?
These are legit questions. There are plenty of therapists to choose from and some have expertise and approaches that might suit you better than your current therapist.
My recommendation is to meet this head on with your current therapist. Sometimes just addressing these “elephants” is all you need to make a leap in your healing.
Short term goals met
Another common type of therapy is one that is very focused on a specific goal. The therapy approach is specifically geared to resolving these specific goals and once the goals are met, you move on.
You go back to everyday life and live it. You use what you learned about yourself during this brief therapy session and put it to work in your everyday life.
But is therapy really over? Would you not be able to go back if you had another problem you wanted help with?
What happens when the same issues creep up again, or you experience a major life event?
You go back, probably to the same therapist if you’d connected well.
Ultimately it is up to you
Just like all of life, you get choices. Choose to go to a therapist for a short time. Then choose to stop.
Or choose to go see a therapist regularly. Choose a therapist that fits you, someone who you feel really understands you and your life.
And reap the benefits.