Welcome to our guide on how often should you see a therapist. Seeking therapy is an essential part of taking care of your mental health. While it can be challenging to start the process, the crucial next step is to figure out a schedule that works best for you. While some people do well with only a few sessions, others may need continuous support.
How Often Should You See a Therapist?
Before we continue, it’s important to know that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. How often you need to see a therapist depends on several factors, including:
- Your mental health goals
- The severity of your symptoms
- Your level of support outside of therapy
- Your financial situation
- Your location
Based on these factors, there are different recommendations on how often you should see a therapist.
Once per week
If you’re experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression or have just started therapy, attending sessions on a weekly basis is usually the best option. Weekly sessions can provide you with a sense of stability, allowing you to form a relationship with your therapist and establish objectives.
Two to three times per week
If your symptoms are more severe, your therapist may recommend attending two to three sessions a week. This type of intense therapy is known as immersion therapy and has been shown to be effective in treating various mental disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Every two weeks
Some people may find it difficult to commit to a weekly session due to the financial or scheduling constraints. If you have a reliable support system and do not have severe symptoms, seeing a therapist every two weeks could be sufficient.
If you have made significant progress in your mental health journey, attending monthly sessions could be an adequate way to continue your support. Monthly sessions could assist in addressing any new issues that may arise and providing further guidance on your progress.
The most flexible option is to see a therapist as-needed basis. This approach is suitable for those who have already built a relationship with their therapist and have a good understanding of their strategies to deal with mental health difficulties.
Factors to Consider when Deciding on the Ideal Frequency
Your goals for therapy
Most people seek out therapy for a particular reason, and that reason determines the frequency of attendance. If you want to achieve quick progress, weekly sessions could help you reach your goals faster, while monthly sessions could slow down your progress.
The type of mental health condition you have
Your condition influences the length of therapy and how often therapy should take place. If you have a severe mental illness, weekly sessions may be essential, while mild conditions may need periodic visits.
Level of support
The degree of support you receive from your immediate environment, such as family and friends, influences the frequency of therapy needed. If you have a supportive environment, it may reduce the frequency needed for therapy – but if you do not, the frequency might need to be increased.
The cost of therapy can also influence the frequency desired. If your budget allows for it, you may opt for more frequent visits, but if not, monthly visits may be your only option.
Benefits of Regular Therapy Sessions
Helps you understand yourself better
Ongoing therapy helps you discover essential components regarding the way you perceive yourself and the world around you. The more you understand yourself, the more self-awareness you have, and the easier it is to function.
Reduces the severity of symptoms
If you have a mental health condition, regular therapy helps reduce the severity of your symptoms. It helps in forming an effective coping mechanism giving you the ability to think more rationally and change self-destructive behavior.
Long-term therapy improves a person’s emotional and mental wellbeing, resulting in positive changes long after therapy has ended.
Signs that Indicate a Need for Immediate Therapy Sessions
In some instances, factors such as life changes or significant events can lead to the worsening of symptoms, necessitating therapy. Look for these signs, which indicate a need for immediate therapy:
- Sudden changes in appetite
- Difficulty with sleep, such as insomnia or oversleeping
- Severe mood swings, i.e., feeling happy one minute and sad or angry the next
- Engagement in self-harm or suicidal thoughts
- Persistent, severe headaches or stomachaches
Ultimately, the ideal frequency of therapy should depend on your mental health goals, level of support, financial situation, and the type of mental health condition that you have. Determining how often to attend therapy sessions can take some time and experimentation. Allow yourself the necessary time to discover what works best for you unless you have to seek immediacy for significant issues.
- Q: Is therapy suitable for everyone?
- A: Yes, therapy is suitable for anyone seeking ways to manage their mental health and emotional well-being.
- Q: How long do therapy sessions last?
- A: A typical session length for therapy is 50-60 minutes.
- Q: How long should I expect to be in therapy?
- A: The length of therapy varies based on your goals and personal situation but typically lasts between three months to a year.
- Q: What’s the difference between therapy and counseling?
- A: While therapy focuses on past and present issues, counseling addresses current issues and situations.
1. Care for Your Mind (2018). How Often Should You Attend Therapy? Retrieved from https://careforyourmind.org/how-often-should-you-attend-therapy/
2. Resnick, L. (2019). How Often Should You Go to Therapy? A Guide to Figuring it Out. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/how-often-should-you-go-to-therapy
3. Joel Minden, Ph.D. (2019). What’s the Right Amount of Therapy? Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/quick-fixes/201902/what-s-the-right-amount-therapy