Short vs Long Term Counselling

Posted by: Maritza Rodriguez on June 8, 2011 12:44 pm

The trend in the past few years has been a promotion of short term counselling. This has been highly influenced by cost. How many sessions will health insurance cover and for what problems or can I afford this treatment? Additionally, our society is increasingly fast paced and people simply do not have time to spend years in psychotherapy.

Short term therapy is often defined as 12 sessions or less. There has been a debate as to which type of counselling is more appropriate. There are many factors that the individual has to take into consideration when choosing between short and long term therapy. Two of the factors include: chronicity of problem and the extent the problem affects the person seeking help. The following questions are helpful to ask when contemplating the length of therapy. How long has this problem been affecting me? How deeply entrenched am I in negative thinking, bad habits or poor coping skills? How many aspects of my life is this negatively impacting such as work, relationships, health, etc?

Often, short term therapy is appropriate for situational problems such as stress management, conflicts at work, communication, relationship issues, parenting, etc. Twelve sessions or less provide the opportunity to set up a therapeutic relationship and interaction needed to increase awareness and follow through with permanent changes. On the other hand, if the problems are deep seated and/or engrained in the relationship, have to do with any type of abuse or are as a result of a chronic diagnosis, long term therapy will usually be more beneficial.

It is recommended that you speak with your counselor or psychotherapist before hand to get their recommendation and an accompanying explanation as to the rationale behind the decision. In the end, it is the client’s decision as to how much time and financial resources he or she can invest in themselves and solving the problem.

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

4 comments on “Short vs Long Term Counselling”

  1. Guin says:

    The *average* time for someone with DID to need treatment is six years and some months. DID is a much more complex mental illness than many others, and much more difficult to treat. It’s totally normal for someone with DID to need seven years, or more, of therapy to approach things like trauma and integration.

  2. Maritza Rodriguez-Arseneau says:

    Hello Sandra,
    It is true that there is no time limit for healing and if it is helping your daughter that is what is important. That being said 7 years is a long time. But if your daughter feels it is too long of a process, she can always consult another psychotherapist. Good luck on your journey.

  3. Sandra Allen says:

    My adult daughter has been going to a counsellor for 10 years, the last 7 to one who specializes in DID. She has been regularly attending these sessions and has been making progress, but I’m concerned that 7 years is a very long time. Her counsellor claims that there is no timeline for her healing.

  4. Sophia Lara says:

    Thank you for sharing this blog. At some stage in our lives, many of us need support with, making a difficult decision.Yes reasearch evidence shows that short term counselling helps. This is nice share.

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