My goal is to help people heal and move on as quickly as possible, but there is no magic. What at first looks like a simple task of symptom relief can sometimes uncover deeper issues, and deeper change takes time.  ”Short-term work” is 12 to 13 sessions. “Long-term work” can last a year or several years.

How long a person can expect to work in treatment depends both on their motivation to change and on the kind of issue they are working on.  Motivation itself is often the first focus of treatment.

Here are some examples of how different issues require different forms of treatment, and take different amounts of time:

  • Sometimes people who generally feel great about life are looking for short term support and insight to get through a time-limited crisis, for example a separation, the loss of a loved one, a career move,  or test-anxiety for professional exams.  This kind of work usually takes from 6 to 20 sessions.
  • Others come in feeling good about their life except for some ongoing symptoms like panic attacks, depression, or generalized anxiety.  A cognitive behavioral approach is often best for these issues, and they are often resolved in 25 to 50 sessions.
  • Loneliness opens up a variety of questions such as why the person has difficulty meeting friends,  deepening relationships, or maintaining intimacy. This work often requires uncovering unconscious beliefs or mind-sets that are resistant to change.  Core issues may come into focus such as how you learned to attach to loved ones as an infant, how worthy of love you feel, or how your sense of entitlement pushes others away.  As well, the person may have a deficit in relationship skills which need to be learned.  This kind of work usually takes a year or several years.
  • Chronic illness may require emotional support on an intermittent or ongoing basis, and the adoption of new skill sets and creativity and courage in finding new sources of pleasure.
  • Vague feelings of unhappiness, existential angst, or “wanting more”  This kind of work requires a psychodynamic approach, through which unconscious determinants of behavior or uncovered and explored.  Expect six months to more than a year of work.
  • Others come in because they suspect or know they have deep-seated problems of character that they sense are holding them back from enjoying life more fully: they are stubborn, cold-hearted, emotionally unstable, paranoid, extremely withdrawn, or puzzled about why they self-sabotage or why they always seem to end up as the “victim.”  Or, they may sense that always being the “nice guy” keeps them from getting ahead. This kind of work usually takes a year to several years.

Here is some more information on fairly common issues:


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