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