My counselling work is a balance between short, medium- and long-term support. Here is a breakdown of some of the differences:
There are many factors that the individual client has to take into consideration when choosing between short- and long-term therapy with me at Acorn therapy. Two of the factors include: chronicity of problem and the extent the problem affects the client seeking counselling help. The following questions may be helpful to ask when contemplating the length of therapy to choose with me. How long has this problem been affecting you? How deeply entrenched are you in negative thinking, bad habits or poor coping skills? How many aspects of my life is this negatively impacting such as work, relationships, health, etc?
Short term counselling or therapy could be appropriate for problems such as stress management, conflicts at work, communication, relationship issues, parenting, etc. Twelve sessions or less provide the opportunity to set up a therapeutic relationship and interaction needed to increase awareness and follow through with permanent change choices. On the other hand, if the problems are deep seated and/or engrained in the relationship, have to do with any type of abuse, trauma or are as a result of a chronic diagnosis, long term counselling could be more suitable.
Short Term Counselling
Short term therapy is often defined as 12 sessions or less. Some of my clients come for a few sessions in order to talk over a pressing issue. This can be useful for people in a position of power in their career, people who are unable to talk things over with colleagues or employees who they feel a level of responsibility for. Short term counselling can also be useful for checking out important one-off life decisions that are not fuelled by childhood wounds, such as deciding to end a relationship, whether to have children or not or discussing a prospective career.
Medium Term Counselling
The larger part of what I do is with people looking for counselling for a couple, and possibly several months long. This may be useful where a client has habits which have formed which aren’t useful and are impacting on quality of one’s life. Examples of this might be where someone has lost self-confidence or esteem due to the end of a relationship, being affected by school or workplace bullying, the impact of having children, difficult family dynamics, health issues, exploring sexuality, culture or race relations, and more
Long Term Counselling
Some clients require long term and ongoing counselling, and this can be especially true for people with deep-seated childhood wounds which might arise from all types of abuse or neglect in childhood. Being the child of a parent with mental health issues, particularly personality disorders (Narcissistic, Histrionic and Borderline Personality Disorders), schizophrenia/schizotypal illnesses, PTSD amongst others, can have a deep and lasting negative impact on one’s sense of self. Chronic emotional neglect (often due to the way our parents were parented) can affect our self-esteem/self-worth as pervasively as more obvious forms of abuse, much to the surprise of some clients.
People who have suffered PTSD due to abuse at the hands of others can understandably find it incredibly difficult to trust so creating a place where a client can truly feel safe can often take a long time. Rushing counselling clients like this can have a risk of retraumatizing someone so it needs to be handled competently and with due diligence.
This kind of counselling can take longer because developed unwanted habits and thought processes are associated with a sense of survival; we adapted this way of being because it helped us to survive at some point in our life. Making changes at this deeper level requires a lot of effort, a lot of soul-searching by both me the counsellor and my clients. In this case a supportive, genuine, non-judgemental relationship I can establish with my client is essential. This is sometimes referred to as Psychodynamic counselling. Therapists are often wounded healers and without deep self-reflection and honesty, their stuff can get played out in the therapy room and is probably behind many therapist misconduct hearings.
Counselling for Maintenance
Some clients want ongoing long term support and counselling because they look at it as “maintenance” in much the same way as some people have regular massage or chiropractor appointments. Certain careers and work might mean that someone benefits from ongoing support, just like I have my fortnightly clinical supervision. I have noticed this seems to be helpful for my clients in very high powered positions or careers which require therapeutic input such as teachers, veterinary doctors and nurses, family law solicitors, personal trainers and people in job roles where they are regularly supporting other people’s emotional needs.
Regardless of the time you chose, I value the uniqueness of each of my clients and I will always work to meet your best interests.