What is therapy? Part 4
How long does therapy last?
The length of therapy will depend on a few factors including your therapist's talent, your goals, the type of difficulties you are working with, and your level of commitment to the process. Therapies that aim to reduce one symptom (e.g. fear of flying) or that have a clear, focused goal (e.g. teaching relaxation techniques) are usually shorter-term (months) than those aiming for broader, less defined changes (years). Examples of the latter include aiming for greater emotional maturity or deeper interpersonal relationships. Also, some difficulties are easily addressed while others prove difficult to change and sometimes form part of a severe and chronic condition. The length of therapy often has little to do with what is needed and might be prescribed by practicalities such as finances and clinic policies. In instances where a therapy is cut short because of financial and policy restraints, it is helpful to think of your therapy as one step along a journey that may need to be revisited from time to time. Don't blame yourself if you aren't well at the end of a limited service, or relapse shortly after that; time limits are often based on available resources and not on what's in the best interest of each person's situation. It is acceptable to participate with your therapist in setting goals and establishing the type of work that you are looking for. This is also something that is likely to change over time, and you can feel confident about revisiting these issues as and when needed.