How long does each therapy session last?
This answer varies on the type of therapy you're getting.
If you're going for individual counseling, then your session will last approximately 50-55 minutes. This 50-55 minutes is referred to as a "therapeutic hour." Some of the rationale behind the timing is that therapists need a minute to collect their thoughts, jot some notes (if they haven't been taking them during the session), and 'reset' before their next client comes into the office. This is s standard practice.
In some situations, your therapist may recommend a lengthier session (such as 75-85 minutes). In no situations will your therapist recommend sessions that are less than 45-55 minutes. It's hard to get therapeutic work done in a smaller amount of time.
Relationship counseling is a little bit different. The first three sessions are all 75-85 minutes (or a little less than 90 minutes) and are focused on assessment. This is because we use Gottman Method Couples Therapy, widely viewed as one of the most effective approaches to couples therapy. Here's a breakdown of what your first three sessions will look like.
- Intake Session. You and your partner will come in and your therapist will guide you through a pretty structured session that includes discussion the issues, your goals for therapy, a 5-10 minute discussion about something you disagree on, and an oral history of your relationship, which includes a variety of questions that you'll be asked from you therapist.
- Individual Sessions. Your and your partner will each come in for a 40-minute session as individuals. This is for your therapist to get information
- Feedback Session. After the first two sessions, your therapist will have spent some time on their end consolidating all of the information they've collected. The third session (feedback session) is where you'll be given the results. It's important to note that your therapist will spend time checking in with you both on whether or not the results 'fit' with your relationship. Remember that your therapist isn't the all-knowing person of your relationship, and your input is highly valuable.
- All subsequent sessions for relationship counseling are the regular length of sessions, 50-55 minutes.
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