How Often Do I Need To Attend Psychotherapy?
When you’re starting your therapy journey, a lot may be running through your mind. You probably have questions like, “how much does therapy cost?” or “is therapy covered by insurance plans?”. Most people even feel nervous about having to share intimate parts of their lives with a stranger. Starting your therapy journey can be scary, but it’s important to remember that this “stranger” is about to become one of your biggest cheerleaders. What makes therapy so beneficial is a combination of the right type of support, along with the right consistency. If you’re wondering how often you need to attend therapy, this article has the answer for you.
KMA Therapy is one of Ontario’s leading psychotherapy practices. Our team has 20+ years of experience in the mental health field, so we like to think of ourselves as experts. We know that the answer is going to be different for everyone, so we’ve come up with some tips and advice that will help you get the answer you’re looking for.
What are my therapy options?
First things first, you’ll want to figure out the type of therapy you are looking for. There are plenty of different therapy types as well as therapy approaches and specific programs that might change the frequency and duration of your therapy sessions. Depending on your needs, you might be looking for:
- Individual Therapy - this is where you sit with a licensed therapist in person or over a video call and take a one-on-one approach to your therapy journey. Your therapist will create an individualized plan of action tailored to your individual needs. You can expect most of these sessions to run for about 50-60 minutes.
- Couples Therapy - this is where you and your partner sit with a therapist to work on your relationship. The therapist’s role here is often more of a moderator role who creates a safe space for you and your partner to put your problems on the table. They will also teach you communication and conflict resolution skills. It’s important to note that while individual sessions often run about 60 minutes, couple sessions tend to last longer depending on your plan with your therapist.
- Family Therapy - as you’d suspect from the name, family therapy is pretty similar to couples therapy, except instead you are working with a therapist alongside one or many of your family members. This is beneficial when working out conflicts in the family, repairing familial bonds, and unpacking things that are often too challenging to do alone.
- Group Therapy - finally we’ve got group therapy! This is when a therapist sits with a group of clients all dealing with similar issues. This helps create healing through a community of like-minded individuals. This is most common with (but not limited to) addiction, abuse, and anger management.
Each of these options comes with different sets of techniques and approaches to treatment. We'll mostly be talking about individual therapy in this article. You might have already heard of things like CBT, DBT, or solution-focused approaches. It’s best to decide the right approach for you collaboratively, with your therapist, but you can definitely let them know if you’ve done some research and have a preference for one in particular.
So we’ve got the type of therapy out of the way, let’s move on to frequency!
How frequently should I attend therapy?
When figuring out the best therapy frequency options for individual therapy, it’s best to speak to your therapist or a licensed professional to make sure you are on the right track. It might depend on your current health conditions, life stressors, or trauma you’ve experienced. Ultimately how often you go to therapy is up to you. Getting an idea of the type of options out there might help inform your overall decision. Let’s go over a few:
- Sessions on the fly
- Weekly Sessions
- Bi-weekly Sessions
- Monthly Sessions
- Sessions on the fly
Sessions on the fly, also known as “as-needed sessions” are sessions that vary in frequency. Usually, as-needed sessions begin after you’ve gone through short or long-term therapy, but can also be used by people who don’t necessarily have any mental health concerns and more so want to discuss day-to-day and environmental stressors as they arise. One week you might see your therapist twice, and then go for a few weeks-months without it. These just depend on you!
- Weekly sessions
Weekly sessions are the most common frequency sessions for people beginning psychotherapy. Meeting with a therapist weekly allows you and your therapist to co-create your journey. It becomes easier to get the work done when you have someone supporting you along the way. Weekly therapy sessions have been known to help build skills related to communication, coping, and mindfulness, along with plenty of others. These skills can be built in any frequency, but weekly session frequency makes those skills “stick” a whole lot sooner! After some time in this routine, you and your therapist can make the best call on increasing or decreasing your session frequency.
- Bi-Weekly sessions
Bi-weekly sessions are pretty much what you’d expect from weekly sessions, but occur on a bi-weekly basis. Some people might see their therapist every two weeks depending on their therapeutic needs. This can also be beneficial if you are paying out of pocket, or just need a check-in every couple of weeks. You'll get similar benefits to weekly sessions, but with a little more time in-between to process. This might mean you’ll have a little extra homework to do in-between sessions to keep you accountable for your therapy journey. But that’s all for your benefit!
- Monthly sessions
Monthly sessions are great for anyone who has progressed through most of their therapy journey and just needs support monthly. Most therapists won’t recommend this option until they feel like you are well enough to do so. To see the most benefits of therapy, starting with such little frequency might make it more challenging to get the support you need when building new skills, but once you’ve already got your new skillset locked in monthly sessions are there for accountability and support.
Typically, taking on weekly sessions means you’ll be finished with therapy sooner based on you and your therapist's discretion. On the other hand, you might enjoy the weekly sessions and choose to stick to that frequency longer. So let’s figure out how long you’ll need to be in therapy. Read on!
How long do I need to be in therapy?
Different types of therapy vary in length and overall duration, but psychotherapy tends to be most beneficial when it’s incorporated into your life weekly for about 12-16 sessions. Some people even make therapy a part of their life for years as-needed. With that being said, the amount of time you spend in therapy is different for every individual! Clients and therapists can make a plan collaboratively and talk about timelines throughout the journey.
Some things you and your therapist might consider when thinking about the duration of your therapy journey are:
- Any mental illnesses you might be suffering from
- Day-to-day environmental stressors
- Significant life events
- Type of therapy
- Individual needs
How often you attend therapy is your decision
Not all therapy will take 12-16 sessions. If you have a particular problem you need help with, you might be in brief solution therapy that can run about 6-8 sessions, while deeper rooted issues might run more than that 12-16 session frequency. Again, it’s always best to discuss this with a licensed healthcare professional but ultimately, the choice will be yours to make!
Figuring out if therapy is right for you, or trying to get all the answers to your questions might be a little tough. As a matter of fact, we know it is! So here are a few other articles that might be helpful in your search:
If you are struggling with mental health or trying to figure out the best solution for yourself right now, jump over to our registration form and let us support you in your journey. There is no pressure to be a client either! We are more than happy to provide you with any information you need about the therapeutic process or inquiries about KMA you have.