How long does Therapy take?

One questions that I am often asked is “How long does therapy take?”

This is an incredibly difficult question to answer, especial before an initial assessment. There are so  many factors to consider when trying to determine the length of therapy.

What do you want from therapy?

One thing that affects the length of therapy is what is wanted for the therapy. Some clients have very clear goals when entering therapy. “I want a better relationship with my partner” “I’m struggling with my grandfathers death”, others can be more broad “I just don’t feel fulfilled and I’m not sure why”, “I find I’m worrying all the time and I want to stop worrying”. The more defined and narrower the focus the shorter the therapy can be. 

Don’t worry if you are unsure about what you want from therapy. This can be discussed during the initial assessment and can be refined through out the therapy.

How long have you been feeling this way?

Another aspect that can affect the length of therapy is how long you have been feeling like something isn’t right. The longer it has been the deeper we may need to explore, and this can take time. Remember it has taken our whole lives to build up our personality, habits, needs, wants and desires. To explore and change theses aspects of ourselves can take time. If it’s something that has happened relatively recently it may be a short about of time. If it’s something that has built up over your entire life starting in childhood this will take a longer and deeper exploration.


During therapy other concerns can be brought to the surface and revealed. For example while exploring your relationship with your partner it may come to light that these issues are rooted in your relationship to your parents and their relationship with each other. This could mean a shift off focus from “wanting a better relationship with my partner” to exploring deeper aspects of your earlier relationship with your partners. At this point a good therapist will ask you if you’d like to change the focus, why this might be a beneficial path to take ( it may be helpful for your original goal as well) and what this would entail, including possibly extending the therapy.

Many revelations can surface during therapy and it is worth considering the effort and time it takes to full explore these.

Trust and the therapeutic relationship

Developing a relationship and building trust takes time. In order to full explore and open up at a deep level, sometimes about uncomfortable thoughts and feelings it takes trust. To gain the most from therapy you have to be able to trust your counsellor with ever aspect of yourself including the darker aspects that can be difficult to admit to, even to yourself. I’ve heard clients say to me on many occasions “There is something I haven’t been telling you” and “I’ve never told anyone this before”. As a counsellor these statements let me know that trust is there in our relationship. How long it takes to get there varies from person to person and what it is that they are not saying or have never said.

So how long does therapy take?

I hope this has helped explained why there is no easy answer to this question, but when you enter into therapy I am more than happy to discuss it and reassess as we go along. 

From experience I notice most of my clients experiences some sort of shift around four to eight sessions where they begin to feel the benefits of the therapy and  understand what they want from the therapy, what they need from the therapy and have a better understanding of how deep they want to go and how long it may take.

I recommend booking 8 - 12 sessions initially as this will give you time to build trust, to get used to talking about yourself and the issues you may have and utilising therapy. It will also allow the time to give you a greater understanding of whether you want more sessions to work at a deeper level and how long this will realistically take.


To find out more please get in touch

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Five Reasons Counselling Sucks


Counselling takes time. Firstly taking an hour or sometimes more out of your week to go and meet with a counsellor. Finding a time that is suitable for both of you can be difficult. 

Then it takes time to see the benefits of counselling. It can be a slow process. How come I don’t feel amazing after one session? How long is this going to take?

There is no easy answer to how long counselling will take. Think about how long you’ve been alive and how long it’s taken you to build your personality, habits, behaviours and ways of relating to others. It can take time to explore all of these aspects and unpick them and if desired change them. It also depends on what you are bringing to therapy and what you want from therapy. The more you want to explore and uncover the longer it will take. It also takes time to build trust with your therapist, and it takes trust to be able to fully open up and explore the more difficult aspects of ourselves.

In my experience most people notice some change around the 4 to 8 week mark and at this point start seeing some benefits and have a better understanding of what they want to get from counselling and how long it may take.


Having Counselling is work, sometimes hard and difficult work. It takes effort to fully commit to the therapeutic process, to open up and explore difficult emotions and situations. That’s a hard thing to do. Examining our lives and who we are can be very hard, sometimes we might not like what we find and it can take a lot of energy and effort to not shy away from those parts of ourselves. Ultimately the more effort you put in to the counselling process the more you’ll get from it.


The therapeutic process is full of emotions. The effort and work put in to counselling can bring up some difficult emotions. Exploring challenging parts of our lives can bring those emotions to the surface. It can be hard to let these emotions surface and resist forcing them back down. 

Who wants to feel sad, scared, anger or anxious? 

Who wants to put themselves through a process where you feel these emotions?

Emotions are often seen as good or bad, positive or negative. We are often told by society and people around us to focus on positive emotions and to suppress negative emotions. Emotions are neither good or bad, they are how we feel. If we ignore or push down our emotions they don’t go away, in fact they can often get worse. By exploring these emotions in therapy we can discover what is making us feel this way, what these emotions are trying to telling us. We can also learn how to express these emotions in a constructive and appropriate manner. Counselling gives you the space to express all of your emotions and feelings in a contained space, allowing you to understand them, work with them and gain from them. 

Breaking down Defences

Ever heard of defence mechanisms. We all have them and most of the time they are useful and help protect us in our day to day lives as we face the world, but sometimes the become too much and over used to the point that they block us from connecting with others and living our lives fully.

Ever heard things like “He hides behind humour”, “She’s in denial”, these might be situations where the defences are too rigid.

Discovering and breaking down our defences is incredibly tough. We’ve built them up over our entire lives. Softening our defences can leave us feeling vulnerable and exposed. That’s a challenging place to be, but if our defences are no longer serving us well then it may need to happen. Counselling exposes these defences and often challenges them. It gives us a space where we can explore our defence and be vulnerable, allowing us to learn what defences we are using and how to use them to help us, not hinder us.


Why Counselling? Often it’s because something isn’t right, something needs to change. Change is difficult. Change can be scary. It’s easier to stick with what we know, to stay in or comfort zones. We’ve built our lives, habits, ways of being over a life time, to change is to lose something. Counselling lets you explore what changes you want to make. To find what’s best for you. To understand why you act in certain ways and feel certain things and how you might want to change these to help you live more fully. It takes time and honesty. Honesty with your counsellor and honest with yourself.

Counselling is difficult. It’s hard. It takes effort. Ultimately it’s worth all the difficulty, struggle and dedication. 

Counselling helps build resilience, promotes self awareness and helps you gain understanding of yourself and other.

If you think it’s time to give yourself the time and space to learn about yourself and find out how you can live a fuller life please get in touch.

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