Process of Therapy

Phases of Therapy

Therapy is a process! It takes time to get in the groove so you can get the most out of it. Usually the first session is an 'information gathering' session, and your therapist will ask a lot of questions and take notes, and you'll begin collaborating on your goals for therapy. Although you should find the first few sessions helpful, you and your therapist are still familiarizing yourselves with each other, setting the stage for productive therapeutic work. If you develop a good therapeutic alliance and you feel ready for change, you can expect to make progress on your therapeutic goals in the 'working phase' of therapy. Over time, once you've achieved what you've wanted to, therapy comes to an end or you may decide to continue meeting, but less frequently, to support maintenance of the progress you've made. 

How often should I go to therapy? 

The frequency and duration of therapy depends on a number of factors: what you are wanting to work through, as well as constraints on finances and time. Your therapist can discuss this with you and provide some recommendations. Most people find it useful to attend on a weekly or biweekly basis initially in order to establish some traction in therapy. Therapy may be short-term or long-term depending on the severity of the distress you are experiencing, how that distress is affecting your daily life, and what you want to achieve in therapy. Lastly, some people find that talking through issues helps them to process them, while others discover that therapy isn't for them, and that's ok. If the therapy process is useful to you, let that help to guide you in how long you wish to attend for.

What else can I do to improve my emotional health?

Recovery and healing typically involves integrating more than one approach. Talking to a therapist is just one aspect of growing and creating change in your life. Other pieces of your overall wellness plan might include:

  • Building social connection and sense of belonging to a community

  • Self-help through books, in-person or online groups

  • Taking care of the body - balanced eating, sleep, rest and movement

  • Psychopharmacological and naturopathic treatment

  • Alternative medicine and healing

  • Spiritual beliefs & practices

  • Expression through creative arts