How often will we meet?
Once a week, at a fixed day and time.
How long does therapy take?
Most people ask this question already knowing that the answer is either, "depends", or just, "I don't know". The truth really is that it isn't possible to say ahead of starting therapy how much therapy you need. In that regard, therapy takes as long as it takes.
Having said that, the prospect of starting what seems like a potentially infnite course of therapy can be overwhelming, so I use the following structure for ongoing therapy:
- initial consultation
This is the first time we meet (see the initial consultation for more information). There is no obligaton to start therapy with me, and sometimes people conclude that therapy isn't what they need after all, or that I'm not the therapist they need at this time.
If you do want to start therapy with me, then we move on to:
- 6 session trial period
Six sessions is a good period of time for getting started. Most people start to feel a bit better in this period because the process of "doing something about it" brings a sense of hope and progress. It can also be a huge relief to know there is a specific time and place where you can talk about what you are experiencing.
In the last session of the trial period, we review. This means discussing what's happened in the therapy so far, with a focus on what's been useful, what you might need more or less of (or what's missing altogether!), and whether or not you want to continue the therapy.
If you do want to continue the therapy, then we move on to:
- 13 session standard period
Thirteen sessions provides time for going into much more depth. This will tend to bring with it more of the exhilirating discoveries and frustrating resistances that characterise the therapeutic journey. The first standard period is often a bit of a honeymoon period (especially if this is your first time in therapy) as lots of the ground we cover will be new.
In the last session of a standard period, we review. This is the same as with the trial period, with the main difference being that if we end the therapy, we will usually agree an ending period to allow time for reflecting on the therapeutic journey as a whole.
If we continue beyond the first standard period, then therapy progresses as a series of standard periods, reviewing in the 13th session. This means we build into the therapy the question of continuing or ending.
As therapy continues, especially beyond the first year, we're more likely to encounter the stuck periods Gestalt Therapists call the impasse. These are the most challenging times in therapy, and yield the greatest sense of satisfaction when resolved. It's worth knowing ahead of time that these difficulties will come up, as it makes it easier to talk about and work with them when they do.
What if I only want a set number of sessions?
This is fine, and we can use the initial consultation to scope out what we do in the time available.