The following is a great article by Alison Crosthwait on the frequency of therapy. It’s a well written article that helps both client and therapist explore the frequency of sessions in a practical, real world sense.
Can I Come Every Two Weeks?
How often should I go to therapy?
Some clients ask, “Can I come every two weeks?”
The usual concerns I hear are time and money.
My usual response is that it is a better use of time and money to come every week than every two weeks. Or at least that was my response when I started practicing.
The longer I practice, however, I come to understand more deeply the uniqueness of each of our needs.
In general, coming to therapy more often helps unconscious material rise to the surface more quickly. If you go on a trip with a friend the little things that bug you will result in a fight. If you see them once a year that won’t happen. Frequency brings feelings to the surface so they can be worked with.
And the more often we see someone the more we get to know each other and the deeper the bond we can build. We build trust. And knowing.
But to say that there is a frequency that works better or worse is only to speak in generalities. Each of us has unique nervous systems that calibrate in their own time.
What matters is if the therapy is meaningful to the client and to the therapist. Together, client and therapist decide on everything including how often the client comes to therapy.
The usual paradox of working on ourselves applies here. We need to push ourselves. But not so much that it’s too much. In terms of frequency of therapy I am regularly checking in with myself with each client – is this too much? Not enough? If I think a change might be of benefit I’ll bring it up and we can talk about it together.
A regular time – whether weekly or bi-weekly does seem to help clients and the therapist settle into the work. Although again that’s a general rule.
The question I have for you (and me) the therapy client is: what do you think will help you address your issues best? Watch the inner reasoner – time and money can be defences against deeper feelings. Give your deeper feelings time to come out – talk about them. And together you make the decision.
This may seem like a particularly technical point about psychotherapy. And it is in a way. But I want to connect it also to all kinds of work. Learning and growing is a process. We have a natural tendency to back away from what is most difficult and we are endlessly fascinating in the ways we convince ourselves that we don’t do this.
The practice of psychotherapy. Is a practice. Like any type of work that we do. Spiritual. Physical. Emotional. Any practice deserves our best.
And what the best is is yours alone. There is no measuring stick. Some people come to therapy for one session and do what they need to do. Some of us work for years. There is no measuring stick.
This is the work of therapy – to come to your self and know something from that place.
So deciding on frequency with your therapist is the work. The heart of the matter. Worth any amount of time you spend on it.