A very important question for most people entering therapy is: how long will this take? How long should it take? Will I be going on forever here? Or can I get help quickly? Time efficient therapy is change-driven, client-centered, process-oriented, and requires a collaborative relationship between client and therapist. It has a beginning and an end, book-ending a creative and satisfying growth process. Like every other process in our lives, therapy takes time. But how much? Not a session more, not a session less than it takes to accomplish the client’s goals for change. There’s no prescribed duration: therapy should take as long as it needs to take. it shouldn’t be rushed or sluggish, but proceed at a pace that is comfortable for both client and therapist to be inspired and facilitate the process of change. It should provide a context for the clients to tap assets they may not have recognized or used fully before. This is what efficiency means in the context of therapy. It is important for the client and therapist to explore progress and to take note of key changes that shape the effectiveness of the therapeutic relationship and the growth process. If you’re a client, how do you know therapy is helping you? What will happen that will indicate to you and your therapist that therapy has helped you now, and that the changes are solid? Time efficient therapy does not ignore important issues and challenges. It pays the right amount of attention to issues and challenges in order to reach a livable solution. How familiar are you with your problems issues and challenges? How can you find and practice livable solutions? Regardless of who you choose, this is an important conversation to have with your therapist. The question of "how long to work together" is related to "how to recognize when you have accomplished what you came for: your goals." It is important to start with an intentional framework of time. Sometimes, one session is enough. Or, maybe it will take months or years. There is a lot of variation possible, and it's helpful to clarify initial expectations, and to remain open to the possibility that your changes may happen in an unexpected time-frame. Time efficient therapy is sustainable. With the knowledge that you can always come back or continue for a check-in at any time, I encourage clients to consider the future five or ten years down the line. In five to ten years when you think back to this time we've spent together, what will we have done to contribute to your independence from therapy?
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