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Speed in Psychotherapy

Speed in Psychotherapy

This is a subject which I get asked about regularly. There is a conception that psychotherapy is a process which will take years and years to conclude. This idea that psychotherapy can take so long, I genuinely believe, is something which puts people off seeking help. It is true that some psychotherapeutic modalities, principally psychodynamic and psychoanalytic tend to be processes which are long term, not all psychotherapy needs to take this kind of time.

For some people, they do not want a full exploration of their issues. They have an issue, let’s say flight anxiety, and they are only interested in resolving that and not looking at any other issues regarding anxiety which may contribute to it. Now, it is quite likely that this will only end up being a quick fix and the anxiety may attach itself somewhere else, but it can still get the job done.

Modalities like outcome oriented tend to be more future focused psychotherapeutically than past driven. This can mean that there is little time in the process devoted to looking at the past and rather the time in therapy is spent looking at the here and now and the future. As I am fond of saying therapy is not a race, but if it were it would not be a sprint. Therapy takes as long as it takes. Consider this, if you have an issue and it takes a year or two to resolve, isn’t that better than keeping the issue for that long and in the end still wanting to resolve it?

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