When Does Counselling End...And Life Begin?

AKA: How Long Should You Have Counselling For?

Like many questions in life, the answer is "it depends".

Counselling, more than most other modalities, is all about perception, and how we personally perceive events, including counselling itself.

Enjoying Life

When we've "worked on ourselves" for a certain period, do we do this forever?

At what point can we stop being consciously concerned about our beliefs, perceptions, impacts of childhood on current events, etc, and simply enjoy the now-moments of life?

Counselling For A Specific Problem

Initially, most will arrive at counselling for a specific reason - to remedy "a particular issue, like anxiety, anger, or depression, that is causing significant emotional pain - enough to warranty professional attention.

Now, there are fine distinctions within the profession - of the difference between (e.g.) counselling and psychotherapy - with the majority defining counselling as a (relatively) short-lived therapeutic relationship, whereas psychotherapy can be much longer, and more in depth.

Counselling could be considered by many as a shorter-term, needs focussed exercise, while psychotherapy is often a longer term exploration of values, beliefs, upbringing, etc.

Your Feelings Matter. We Can Help:

Multiple Considerations

Regardless, the duration, frequency, and recency of counselling sessions any one individual needs, will depend on multiple factors, e.g.

Improvements From Counselling
  • The reason you started attending counselling - is it resolved?
  • Strength of relationship with counsellor including results to-date, trust, empathy, boundaries, etc
  • Noticeable improvements in quality of life, emotional balance
  • Did the issue you first wanted help for - mean other issues came up for attention, during its resolution?

Exact Timescales Will Vary For Each Individual

As a guide, consider using your emotions as a benchmark.

Make an honest comparison of your emotions before therapy work, and now:

  • On a scale of 1-10, when you came for counselling initially, how bad was the problem (1= not at all bad; 10 = as bad as it can be)
  • What is the 1-10 rating of that same problem now?
  • Repeat this exercise when considering (i) day to day emotions (ii) other co-occurring emotional issues that were also present when the initial problem was there

Also Consider

It's possible to access reduced cost counselling services across many UK cities, with a little creative research.

  • Do you have new issues coming up, that weren't there before, that now need attention?
  • Are there longer term issues you're now aware of, as a result of counselling, that would now benefit you working on them?

Personal Decision

The decision of whether to continue therapy work or not, is very personal to each individual. And a decision to discontinue therapeutic work doesn't mean you'll look at these issues again.

Indeed, once they've had those initial positive experiences of counselling, many consider therapy to be an ongoing concern, for good mental health.

Our counsellors adhere to the BACP code of ethics and practice.

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