Welcome to the blog of Roya Dedeaux, Marriage and Family Therapist Intern #73122. You are reading one of the posts in my “Shrinking the Stigma” series – where I will answer questions people have about the logistics and process of therapy. Because of its confidential nature, we tend to shroud the therapy process in so much mystery! My blog attempts to dispel that mystery and make it easier for you to use it as the wonderful resource it can be. Check out the other blog posts at royadedeaux.com
“Okay, so I’ve found a therapist, I know I want to go… How often should I go to therapy?”
You get to decide how often to go to therapy. It’s up to you as the client. Your therapist might have suggestions and preferences. These might be based on the diagnosis of their clients, the demand on their time, or agency policies. Some therapists work with high risk clients who benefit from daily sessions for concentrated periods of times (like clients who are in a rehabilitation or crisis shelter setting). If your therapist has a waiting list they may insist on weekly sessions because it makes more financial sense to retain a client in that spot every week than having to secure 2 people (remember, they are running a business!) In many clinics and private practices the typical sessions happen once a week.
In my private practice I prefer seeing clients once a week, especially if you are a new client, or are working through something critical or urgent.
So much of the effectiveness of therapy is from the client trusting and opening up to the therapist. It’s hard to do that with a stranger when you only see them for an hour every two or three weeks. Even if once a week sessions will not be sustainable in the long run, I encourage my clients to start at once a week, even if just for a few months, in order to build that trust and connection.
There may also come a point in therapy when once a week starts feeling like too much. I have seen over and over again the point when my clients come in to my office and tell me about what they processed all week, as opposed to doing the processing in therapy. That’s my cue to ask them if they would like to go to every other week. I have some clients who come once a month, or once every three months and use therapy as a check in time. They have the tools to handle everything on their own, it’s just nice to reconnect and get back in touch with that therapeutic atmosphere every once in a while.
I also have clients that I have seen more than one time a week. That is another choice you can make. If you have something that feels urgent, a recent trauma or loss, looming life c
hange, or just feel strongly about it, sometimes it is helpful to do some concentrated therapy. You get out of therapy what you put into it, and as a clinician, it is really rewarding to work with people who dive into it wholeheartedly, as they are the ones who really reap the benefits.
The choice for how often to go to therapy really is up to you, and it is more than okay for you to ask your therapist from the beginning what their approach to therapy attendance is.
“How long will therapy last? When will I start feeling better?” Look for answers to these questions and more in other blog posts here at royadedeaux.com!
Roya Dedeaux is an Marriage and Family Therapist Intern #73122 with a private practice in Los Alamitos, California. She works with children, teens, adults, families and couples to help everyone express themselves better and lead more congruent lives. She specializes in working with individuals who feel like they don’t quite “fit the mold,” and helping them reduce the barriers to accomplishing their goals. To make an intake appointment, call (657)464-ROYA or email firstname.lastname@example.org.