It’s hard to say how long counselling/ therapy is likely to take. The usefulness of doing something about what bothers you when you’re ready is that the motivation is there. It is likely that we will get traction faster and the more you implement the changes in your life between sessions, the sooner you will move through your issues.
That said, it is to be expected that some things take longer than others. A more discrete issue such as localised workplace conflict, will most likely involve a coaching focus, education, skill building and perspective changing, and is very likely to be behaviourally task/ goal oriented. This work helps you deal more easily with an existing situation by ‘fixing’ what isn’t working and focussing on where it can be fixed. This is likely to take between 2 and 5 sessions.
A more substantial issue, say a relationship problem, will mean we need to ‘open up’ some of the structures that are getting in the way to address where the problem might stem from. In addition to the education, skill building and perspective taking mentioned above, this usually incorporates counselling to do more involved investigations and troubleshooting of underlying issues which may be contributing. This will most likely involve more experimenting, in and out of sessions. It does not necessarily involve major life changes, but is more about making your existing life circumstances more liveable. This is likely to take somewhere between 5 and 10 sessions.
A long-standing issue where a number of difficulties, often in a number of life areas, have existed over a number of years will involve longer work. Together we will deconstruct unhelpful aspects of how you view, respond to and do things and experiment with seeing what might work better for you in the future. This kind of work is more transformational, as it involves questioning and often changing the very foundations for the way you have seen yourself and approached your life until now. Rather than just helping you live the life you have, this work helps you create the life you want for yourself. This work tends to go over a longer period of time, depending on the kind of changes you are seeking.
Mentoring for living – this is more for people who feel their life is going well but want more satisfaction from it. They are interested in going beyond seeing their life in terms of what’s not working but see it as a way to build on what is already working to make it into what they really want. Typically, I work in this way with people with whom I have already had a therapeutic role.
Frequency of sessions tends to be affected by a number of factors including severity of the presenting issue, urgency, availability of time and other resources as well as finances. Research suggests that it is usually best to schedule the earlier sessions closer together (say, weekly or fortnightly if possible) to get the momentum happening and put things in place quickly and then space the sessions out to allow more time to implement and integrate changes made.
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