The Benefits of Long-Term Therapy
As the public stigma surrounding mental health issues continues to decrease, it has normalized the idea of getting help from a professional therapist. In turn, more people who otherwise feel emotionally well-balanced, but are going through a challenging period in life, are starting to seek professional advice to help them overcome obstacles.
If you have never been in therapy before, you may wonder what to expect and how it can provide you with the tools to overcome various challenges. While the popular media depiction of the therapeutic approach shows the therapist asking their client open-ended questions that encourage introspection, there are many different therapeutic approaches, and some look quite different from this traditional image.
How Long Should You Be in Therapy?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. You should stay in therapy as long as you feel it’s beneficial to you and you’re continuing to make progress with your therapist.
Everyone has different goals for seeking help. However, long-term therapy may be more beneficial for people in the following categories.
- People with a diagnosis of a mental illness such as bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder or schizophrenia
- Anyone who feels psychoanalysis can help them work through various issues
- Those who are working through deeply rooted problems that date back to childhood
- Anyone who would benefit from self-discovery’s potential to improve their lives overall
How to Decide If Long-Term Therapy Is Right for You
The reflective nature of long-term therapy can help you learn to understand yourself better. If your objectives for treatment involve addressing multiple issues or learning how your past has shaped your present, long-term therapy might be the answer.
If your issues stem from a deep-seated component of your personality, it’s more likely long-term therapy will benefit you. For instance, if you have always struggled to form close interpersonal relationships, you might do well from the slow and steady effort that characterizes long-term therapy. Some problems, such as trauma, substance abuse disorder and attachment issues, are also best treated through a longer stint in therapy.
Cultivating a Relationship With a Therapist
Spending longer in therapy is also helpful for anyone who would prefer to form an established partnership with their counselor. However, that’s not to say you should become dependent on your therapist’s advice to guide how you live your entire life. Counseling sessions should not make you feel as if you can’t make it on your own.
If you feel your therapy sessions are no longer as effective as you’d like, it may be because you and your therapist are no longer on the same page about your goals. In that case, it can help to switch counselors, or to take a brief break from therapy to reassess how far you’ve come and what you still hope to achieve.
Achieve Freedom and Independence
If you are living with a diagnosed psychiatric issue, you can still go on to understand your condition and make a full recovery. At Serene Behavioral Health, we can help you with our proven treatment modalities, including group and individual therapy. Contact us anytime to learn more.