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12 min read

How often should you go to therapy?

Written by Klarity Editorial Team

Published: Apr 30, 2024

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Zoe Russell

Table of contents

In this article, we answer the question you may be asking yourself like how often should you go to therapy? Like any personal journey, therapy is unique to each individual and influenced by various factors, such as the nature of the therapy, personal and professional commitments, financial considerations, and the specifics of one’s mental health condition and recovery stage.

Regular therapy sessions provide a safe space for reflection, learning, and growth, and let you work through challenges and build coping strategies. However, the “right” frequency of sessions depends on multiple variables, including your current mental health status, the treatment goals you wish to achieve through therapy, and the specific therapeutic modalities being employed.

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How often people see their therapists

As you start therapy, it’s natural to wonder how often you’ll attend sessions. The frequency of therapy sessions can influence your healing process and give you a framework for growth, self-discovery, and for developing coping strategies. 

Here are 3 of the most common therapy schedules you’ll likely follow:

  • Weekly sessions: Weekly therapy sessions allow for a consistent, supportive environment where you can dive deep into personal issues, establish a strong rapport with your therapist, and steadily work toward your mental health goals. Weekly check-ins give you the opportunity to address concerns as they arise, ensuring that problems don’t build over time.
  • Bi-weekly sessions: This cadence is effective once you’ve navigated the initial stages of therapy and when you’re in a more stable phase of your mental health journey. Bi-weekly sessions provide regular support and accountability while giving you more time between sessions to apply what you’ve learned and observe its impact on your daily life.
  • Monthly sessions: Monthly therapy sessions are a valuable option for individuals who’ve achieved significant progress in therapy and are looking to maintain their gains over the long term. This therapy model allows for ongoing support, a space to process life’s ups and downs, and accountability as you apply therapeutic strategies independently. 

Factors that influence therapy frequency

The frequency of therapy sessions isn’t a decision made lightly. It’s a nuanced choice, influenced by a variety of factors, including the type of therapy you’re undergoing and/or your budget. Different therapeutic approaches have their own rhythms and requirements for frequency, each tailored to maximize the benefits of the therapy. You must have time to fit a session into your personal life, especially if you need more intensive therapy.

Here’s a closer look at how different types of therapy can influence scheduling.

The type of therapy needed

The type of therapy your provider recommends has a direct impact on how you schedule your sessions, depending on the unique methods and objectives of each therapeutic approach. This choice should reflect not only the specific mental health conditions being addressed but also your personality, lifestyle, and objectives for therapy. 

Understanding the different types of therapy and how they cater to various needs lets you embark on your therapeutic journey with clarity and confidence, setting the stage for meaningful progress and healing.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a structured, goal-oriented therapy that focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors. Because CBT is skills-based, it often requires regular sessions, typically weekly, to introduce, practice, and reinforce new strategies. 

Consistency helps embed the cognitive and behavioral changes into your daily life. Over time, as these skills become more natural and your ability to manage your thoughts and behaviors improves, the frequency of sessions may decrease.

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is a distinct form of therapy designed to help individuals process and heal from the emotional distress associated with traumatic memories. The initial phase of EMDR therapy might be more intensive, with sessions occurring more than once a week. This frequency supports the processing of traumatic events in a structured, concentrated manner. 

As you make progress, and the intensity of your emotional distress decreases, the sessions can be less frequent. The pace of this transition varies, depending on the nature and severity of the trauma you’re addressing.

Group/couples therapy

Group and couples therapy has unique dynamics compared to individual therapy. These formats provide a platform for sharing experiences and learning from others in a supportive environment. Because these therapies involve multiple participants, scheduling tends to be less frequent, often bi-weekly or monthly. 

This cadence allows participants time to reflect on discussions, work on relationships, or apply strategies outside of the therapy setting. The frequency can be adjusted based on the group’s or couple’s needs, the therapy goals, and the progress being made.

Personal commitments and outside influences

Balancing therapy with daily life requires careful consideration of your existing commitments. Work schedules, family responsibilities, and social obligations can all impact the time you have for therapy sessions. For some, squeezing in a weekly session into a packed schedule adds stress and may reduce therapy’s benefits. 

It’s essential to communicate openly with your therapist about your commitments to find a schedule that doesn’t overburden you. Some therapists offer flexible scheduling options, including evening or weekend appointments, which is helpful if you’re busy and trying to fit therapy in.

Budgetary considerations

The cost of therapy is a practical consideration that can affect how often you see your therapist. Therapy is an investment in your mental health, but should also be financially sustainable. Many therapists offer sliding-scale fees based on income, which can make therapy more accessible by adjusting the cost to your financial situation. 

Some insurance plans cover mental health services, which can alleviate some of the financial strain. Discussing cost concerns with your therapist can lead to a mutually agreeable plan that accommodates your financial reality while still prioritizing your mental health needs.

Specific mental health condition and stages of recovery

Whether you’re grappling with anxiety, depression, ADHD, insomnia or any other mental health concern, the nature of your condition and where you are on your path to recovery are pivotal factors that influence how often you have therapy sessions. 

Intensive support for initial or crisis stages

The severity of your mental health condition influences the recommended frequency of therapy sessions. In the initial stages of therapy or during crisis periods, more frequent sessions — sometimes even multiple sessions a week — may be needed so you get the support you need to manage the challenge.

This increased frequency allows for close monitoring and quick adjustments to your treatment plan if needed. As you progress and stabilize, the need for more frequent sessions may decrease, and you can transition into a maintenance phase with less frequent check-ins.

How to determine your ideal therapy schedule

This process isn’t about adhering to a one-size-fits-all approach but rather about collaborating with your therapist to tailor a plan that supports your growth, healing, and daily life. Engaging in this collaborative effort gives you the support and flexibility needed to navigate the challenges and triumphs of healing.

Collaborate with your therapist on a treatment plan

Effective therapy isn’t just about attending sessions; it’s about actively participating in the creation and adjustment of your treatment plan. Open communication with your therapist is critical. Discussing your goals, charting your progress, and highlighting any scheduling constraints ensures that your therapy aligns with your life’s realities and aspirations. 

This collaboration enables your therapist to tailor approaches and strategies that resonate with you personally, ensuring the therapy process is both meaningful and manageable. 

Adjust frequency as you progress

As you progress through therapy, your needs will inevitably shift, calling for a reassessment of how frequently you engage in therapy sessions. This is a natural part of the therapeutic process. Regular check-ins with your therapist to evaluate your progress can lead to adjustments in session frequency. 

For some, improvements may warrant less frequent sessions, shifting the focus toward maintaining gains and applying learned strategies independently. For others, new challenges may emerge, necessitating an increase in session frequency to provide additional support. This adaptive approach ensures that therapy remains responsive to any evolving needs, fostering sustained growth and healing.

How to make the most of your therapy sessions

Making the most out of your therapy sessions is crucial for achieving your mental health goals. Preparation and active engagement are key components in maximizing the benefits of each session. Here are ways to ensure you’re getting the most from your time with your therapist.

Be prepared: Entering therapy with a sense of what you want to discuss enhances the productivity of each session. Consider keeping a journal of recent events, thoughts, feelings, and reactions that you find significant or troubling and share them with your therapist. 

Active participation: Therapy is a 2-way street. The more you put into it, the more you get out of it. Engage actively with your therapist, asking questions, and expressing any confusion or concerns. 

Practice outside of sessions: Applying what you’ve learned in therapy to your daily life is essential for lasting change. Whether it’s implementing coping strategies, experimenting with new behaviors, or observing your thought patterns, these efforts outside of sessions are crucial for personal growth. 

Embrace the process: Therapy is a healing journey that involves exploring uncomfortable truths and confronting long-held beliefs. Embracing the process, including the challenging aspects, allows for a more open and transformative experience. 

Utilize feedback: Being receptive to feedback, even when it’s challenging, and using it constructively to revisit your thoughts and behaviors can significantly enhance your therapy experience.

Find a licensed therapist on Klarity today

At Klarity, we’re committed to supporting you every step of the way — from finding the perfect therapist to embarking on a path of transformation and healing.

Find a provider on Klarity today who can support you on your way to mental wellness.

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