…Just kidding. But I got your attention, didn’t I?
We live in an instant gratification world. When our phones act up and don’t load a web page instantly, we act like it’s the end of the world. We can get anything we want on demand, anytime of the day. Everything we do is fast, instantaneous, and has a deadline.
A lot of people approach counseling this way. They come into my office in a hurry, on a time crunch, wanting a quick fix. They ask how many sessions it’s going to take before they’re “fixed” or feeling better. The honest answer is, I don’t know. And here’s why:
I can’t fix everything in 4 sessions. I can’t even guarantee that in 4 sessions we’ve touched on every issue that has brought you to counseling. Each person comes to counseling in a different stage of readiness.
For some clients, it takes me 4 sessions (or more!) just to get to know them, and build trust with them. With these types of clients, we are barely skimming the surface of what it is they need to work on 4 sessions in. It may be because they know something is wrong, but can’t put their finger on it. Maybe it’s because they are not very trusting and are feeling me out, or are suspicious of counseling. It could be due to another reason altogether. Either way, it’s okay. But 4 sessions are just not going to cut it.
Some clients come in with backgrounds of trauma, abuse, grief, etc. The truth is, 4 sessions are not enough time to dig into heavy topics such as these. It takes a lot of time to process and heal from these types of wounds.
It’s also not unusual for couples to come into the session with their marriage in crisis, on the verge of divorce. Your marriage didn’t get to this place overnight, so it’s unrealistic to expect that you can fix it in a few sessions. It takes many months (sometimes years) of hard work and dedication to undo years of unhealthy communication and to process past hurts.
Some clients come in with goals, a plan, and know exactly what they want out of counseling. Or they may be a couple just coming in for a tune-up. For these clients, 4 sessions may be enough. Or, we may get to the 4th session and realize there’s more work to do.
Counseling can last anywhere from a few months to years. It is a huge time commitment, but it is so worth it! The results may not be instantaneous, because it requires a lot of energy and effort to invest in yourself and your relationships. But in this instant gratification world, aren’t you worth the time?
Written by Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW
*Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Journey to Joy Counseling. Christy enjoys doing marriage/couples counseling, individual counseling, premarital counseling. She also provides family counseling, teen and adolescent counseling.
Journey to Joy Counseling serves the Indianapolis area, including Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.