Short-Term or Long-Term Counselling?

ShoreHow long will it take is a common question at initial counselling sessions. And this is not a simple answer. The length of time depends on a number of factors such as:

  • The type of issue.
  • How long an issue has been occurring.
  • How much work a client is willing to do.
  • How much of the situation is under the client’s control.
  • Time and funds available.

Length of time also is affected by how open clients are with themselves and with a counsellor. Effectiveness of counselling depends on trust and comfort level, and these take time to build. For some issues, people have less need to trust a therapist at a very deep level, and for others, they have to trust more.

Short-term counselling is anything between 1-12 sessions where the focus is on helping clients to find new approaches to overcoming present difficulties. Often, this involves learning emotion regulation skills to effectively manage and change the way clients feel and cope with situations.

Short-term therapy is usually appropriate for situational problems such as stress management, conflicts at work, communication, relationship issues, parenting, etc. On the other hand, if the problems are deep seated and/or engrained in the relationship, have to do with any type of trauma or are as a result of a chronic diagnosis, long-term therapy, will usually be more beneficial. 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 overcoming the problem.

© Maria Stella, PhD. All Rights Reserved.

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