Making the decision to see a counselor is a tough one. You are preparing to pour your heart out to a complete stranger. Once you finish that first appointment, you may wonder how often you need to go back. Initially? Once a week is the general recommendation. Although with some people, it may be more or less frequent.
Let’s talk about the once a week frequency first. That’s only one hour out of the 168 hours in a week, but it is a good time frame for you to apply and reflect on what you’ve learned with your day-to-day life so you can discuss it in the next session.
The goal when you leave a session is to reflect on any insight that came up during that time as well as apply any suggested “homework” or exercises that may have been discussed in your session. One session a week keeps you on track and there is not so much time passing that slows down progress and you forget what you have learned. This continuity is important for recovery and most people find better results when there are more frequent appointments in the beginning.
Why twice a week? If people are struggling or working through a crisis, two times a week is not uncommon. They want to stay on top whatever issues they are having and need that extra session to help them do so.
Once you feel progress is being made, your crisis has passed, or you feel your emotions have stabilized, you may choose to see a counselor every other week. This varies by individual and depends on the progress you feel you have made. After a number of weekly sessions, if you are able to maintain progress with a session every other week, this is definitely an option. And keep in mind too that this number may increase and decrease over time depending on your life circumstances. Discuss this during counseling if you are not sure.