In Australia, the Medicare system has created a framework which suggests 6–10 individual sessions in a calendar year are generally sufficient for meaningful change. For some issues, this is sufficient; for other concerns you may need more time.
Factors which impact the length of treatment include:
The nature and severity of the problem, including the extent to which your symptoms interfere with day-to-day life
The type of treatment provided
How long you've had symptoms or have been dealing with your situation
How quickly you make progress
What other demands you are managing at the time (e.g., stress)
What support you have available (e.g., family, friends, colleagues)
Any resource limitations (time, money).
I maintain a transparent and collaborative approach to working with you on your presenting issues. This means that:
I discuss the anticipated treatment length with you in the first 1–2 sessions, and revisit this during our work together as and when needed.
During the process of treatment / coaching / mentoring, I use various methods to monitor progress, including your self-report and statistically valid outcome measures. We discuss the results and any implications for your treatment plan.
Sessions generally conclude when you have accomplished the goals we mutually agreed on at the out-set.
What do I suggest?
My clients tend to have busy lives and want certainty in their schedules.
For this reason, I recommend booking 3–4 sessions at a time, typically on a fortnightly basis. In high need (crisis) times, clients may prefer weekly sessions, or sometimes twice weekly.
As you gain more clarity over the problem and you start to consolidate skills learned in session, bookings may stretch out to every 3–4 weeks.
Before concluding sessions, clients may decide to book a final review meeting 8–10 weeks after finalising the active phase of treatment.
This session helps iron out any lingering concerns which may disrupt progress.
How many sessions is enough?
It is important to recognise that, because we are evolving beings, reaching your goals may not mean waiting until everything is “perfect”. My approach is designed to help you develop new perspectives and tools which are practical and designed to create a meaningful and sustainable shift in your current situation.
Clients will often conclude sessions after 5–7 appointments in order to consolidate skills, before returning a few weeks or months later to continue their development. This recognises that insight is important, but putting your new-found knowledge into play in your daily routine is essential for sustainable change and growth.
The work of change can be a winding path – creating your best life or best version of yourself is often a dynamic process. Every client responds differently to coaching / mentoring / counselling. Insight is not a linear trajectory – it usually arrives in fits and spurts and the process of gaining clarity and applying strategies to effect change is unique to every individual.
Making sure you’re doing ok
As an opt-in service, I offer Gold Standard Care by contacting you by email at 3 months and 6 months after your last session with me, just to check in and see how you are travelling.
It is a great opportunity for you to review your goals and, if you need a hand getting back on track, I am there to help.
Research has generally found a positive relationship between treatment length and clinical outcomes. This suggests that statistically more individuals will show significant change or recovery with increasing treatment length.
What this means is that it is important to have a sufficient amount of treatment and reasonable expectations for treatment length, before deciding treatment is not working.
Nevertheless, if you are worried about not making gains after having actively engaged in a therapeutic process for a reasonable length of time, it is always appropriate to discuss your treatment progress with another therapist and/or request a re-evaluation of the treatment plan with your current therapist to assure that treatment is on track and helpful to you.