What Happens in Therapy Sessions?

Initial Session

At the initial session/s, perhaps one to three depending on the problem, the focus will be on gaining an accurate and thorough understanding of your difficulties.  This will consider the underlying causes and the reasons the problems persist.  Often clients find this process of discussing personal feelings and history, and developing a better understanding of their difficulties, a positive and useful experience.

Treatment Plan and Goals

Once a clear idea of the problem has been established, we will discuss the options for treatment.  This will outline a plan and goals that will be tailored to suit you and your difficulties.  Planning treatment to suit particular individual needs in this way is usually more effective and flexible than what may be found in self-help books or general advice.  Also it can be more effective than spending a lot of time talking about the problem without actually tackling it.

Therapy Work

Following the assessment and planning period, sessions will focus primarily on making progress towards your therapeutic goals.  The number of sessions you will need will vary according to the complexity, severity and history of your difficulties.  This will also be related to your particular goals and how much you can invest in psychological work between sessions.  Your therapist will plan with you some therapy tasks or 'homework' to do between sessions.  This could be completing a thought diary or checking aspects of your behaviour. These tasks can make therapy very effective.  The emphasis is on learning skills that can be used after the therapy has ended leading to lifelong positive changes.  The goals and progress will be reviewed at regular intervals.

Length of Treatment

Therapy can be weekly but it will always be tailored to your needs in collaboration with the therapist.  Sessions are usually 50 minutes.  Typically clients are seen for between eight and twenty four sessions and positive gains can be made in as little as six to eight sessions.  The length of treatment depends on the therapeutic approach used and the extent of the problems. 

Time-Limited Therapy - In time-limited therapy a number of sessions are agreed during which there is a defined achievable goal to work towards.  This is effective in tackling individual issues and the time-limited focus can maximise gains in the shortest possible time.  The number of sessions can be reviewed at any time.

Open Ended Therapy - Open ended therapy allows you to work through issues at your own speed and gives you the opportunity for deeper exploration of experiences and issues in order to make fundamental changes in yourself.  Open ended therapy allows you to evaluate the right time to end therapy, ensuring that you always feel in control.  This provides a more open and flowing therapy experience than a time-limited course.

On Completion of Therapy

Therapy follow-ups can be arranged to enable you to ensure gains are being built upon and to avoid relapse.  After completion, it is possible to have 'booster sessions' if you would like to refresh your knowledge and reinforce your new techniques and strategies.  This might be particularly relevant if there is an increase in stress or new difficulties.