Many clients ask me this question, and the answer is always “It depends.” The duration required by therapy depends on the type and severity of the problem sought to be addressed. It also depends on the work you, the client, are willing to put during and between sessions. Research shows that many people begin to experience positive gains in therapy in 6 to 12 sessions (at one session per week, this means within 2 to 3 months). In our personal experience, many of our clients have achieved significant positive change within 4 sessions and have often been able to terminate therapy within 10 to 15 sessions.
Marriage and family therapy can take longer than individual therapy due to the complicated dynamics that naturally result from relationships. Clients can often see an immediate positive shift in their marital or family life when they begin counseling if they implement the techniques discussed during sessions. In marriage counseling, most of my clients often need approximately 4 to 5 individual therapy sessions each and 5 to 10 couples therapy sessions to address the issues they are facing. This all depends on how long couples have waited to tackle the problems that are causing them discomfort as well as the magnitude of the issues being addressed.