Counselling and Change

How Long Does Counselling Take?

Knowing how much time you may need to invest in counselling can help set expectations for therapy. This can also build self-compassion as you learn to become patient with yourself in the process. Change takes time and there is a cost. But what is it?

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The amount of sessions it takes to meet your counselling goals will vary. It depends on factors like your history, social supports, session frequency, and your goal. It's important to set a clearly defined goal so that you know when change has happened.

Factors That Affect Growth

The amount of time required can vary from a few months, to 6 months or longer. Acute issues like general stress management often require fewer treatment sessions compared to chronic conditions. An example of a chronic condition would be a lifelong mood problem. Different styles of therapy also take different lengths of time. Significant and lasting change from short term therapy is also possible when you can be accountable to your growth.

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What the Research Says

Research indicates that people experience significant change or recovery with increasing treatment length. That means that great change comes from investment in therapy. It's important to have sufficient treatment length and reasonable expectations before you decide if counselling isn't working.

According to, 50% of people reported recovery after 15 to 20 sessions. For people with co-occurring conditions or certain personality difficulties, treatments of 12-18 months may be required. Individuals who have chronic problems may require extensive therapy. This can include supportive therapy to avoid psychiatric re-hospitalization, but this represents a minority of cases.

What to Expect

Change is a process. It takes time, effort and commitment. Maintaining benefits from therapy takes personal accountability. It's normal to feel frustrated if change happens slower than you expect or prefer. Talk to your counsellor about the change process. This can lead to important insights along your journey.

Are you ready to explore change?

Book your counselling session or consultation appointment today.