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Therapy duration is determined based on the individual and their needs and wants. Many people go to therapy for a specific problem which may take only a few therapy sessions to address successfully whereas others may need more therapy sessions to address an ongoing or complex problem

How Long Is a Therapy Session?

Mental health services online and in person can vary in length, but a typical therapy session is usually 40-60 minutes long. Some therapists may offer longer or shorter sessions, depending on their specific style and the needs of their clients. It is important to discuss the length of therapy sessions with your therapist to make sure it is a good fit for your needs.

Your first therapy appointment may take longer than subsequent visits. Initial assessments are usually conducted during your first appointment. In this session, your therapist will spend extra time getting to know you, discussing your needs, and evaluating your condition. It’s important to stick with your therapist for at least a few visits to see if they are the right fit.

How Long Does Therapy Last?

If you’re considering psychological services, you’re probably wondering how long therapy will last. Therapy duration is determined based on the individual and their needs and wants.

Many people go to therapy for a specific problem that may take fewer therapy sessions to address successfully. Others, who are dealing with more complex or longer lasting issues or a history of traumatic experiences, may find it takes longer in therapy to achieve their long-term therapy goals.

According to the American Psychological Association, clinical research suggests that people with co-occurring conditions (e.g. depression and substance abuse) may require longer treatment periods to achieve effective and lasting results. While most individuals stay in therapy treatment for a few months, some individuals decide to participate in talk therapy (sometimes on and off) for years.

According to the American Psychological Association, studies show that an average of 12-16 weekly sessions results in clinically significant improvements. And although significant improvements may occur by 12 sessions, some clients and therapists recommend continued treatment to achieve ongoing symptom remission and to ensure clients maintain their gains over time.

While there are many factors that influence the therapy course and treatment duration there are a few ways therapists determine (estimate) the length of therapy for the client they are seeing.

First, during the initial appointment, the therapist will assess the client by identifying the client’s presenting problem and gather biopsychosocial information from the client. This will give the therapist an idea about how many sessions it may take for the client to achieve their goals and maintain treatment gains.

The therapist will also re-evaluate throughout therapy treatment by routinely reviewing with the client their progress, determining if the client achieved their treatment goal(s), whether another pertinent problem needs to be addressed in the following sessions and updating the treatment plan accordingly, or deciding when it may be time to discuss termination of treatment with the client.

What are the Different Types of Online Therapy?

There are several different forms of behavioral health services that can help individuals dealing with depression, anxiety, trauma, grief, anger, and relationship issues.

Online Depression Therapy

Online depression therapy involves working with a licensed mental health professional through video conferencing, phone calls, or messaging. This can be an effective treatment option for individuals who have difficulty attending onsite therapy sessions due to factors such as distance, lack of transportation, mobility issues, or scheduling conflicts.

Online Anxiety Therapy

Online anxiety therapy also uses similar methods to help individuals cope with anxiety disorders or symptoms. This can include techniques such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps individuals identify and change negative thinking patterns that contribute to anxiety.

Online Trauma Therapy

Online trauma therapy can help individuals who have experienced trauma or abuse address the emotional and psychological effects of their experiences. This can include treatments such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), which involves guiding individuals through the process of recalling and processing their traumatic memories.

Online Grief Therapy

Online grief therapy can provide support and guidance to individuals who are grieving the loss of a loved one. This can include techniques such as grief counseling, which helps individuals process their emotions and find healthy ways to cope with their loss.

Online Anger Therapy

Online anger therapy can help individuals manage and express their anger in a healthy way. This can include techniques such as anger management counseling, which helps individuals learn the triggers for their anger and develop strategies for responding to those triggers in a more constructive way.

Online Couples Therapy

Online couples therapy can help couples improve their communication, resolve conflicts, and strengthen their relationship. Mental health online services can include techniques such as relationship counseling, which helps couples identify patterns of behavior that are contributing to their problems and develop strategies for improving their relationship.

Making Therapy Work for You

Therapy is more than just talking to your therapist. When done effectively, online therapy is a collaborative treatment in which you and your mental health provider work together to achieve your goals.

To improve therapy results, consider the following tips:

Be open and honest.

It's important to be open and honest with your therapist. This will help them understand your thoughts and feelings and provide the best possible support. Being open and honest can also help to build trust between you and your therapist, which is an important part of the therapeutic relationship. Failure to open up may cause you to withhold your true feelings and experiences, which can limit the effectiveness of the therapy.

Set goals.

Think about what you hope to achieve in therapy and share your goals with your therapist. This can help you both stay focused and track your progress. Setting goals can also help you to feel more in control of your therapy and your own progress, which can be empowering. Additionally, it can help your therapist to understand your specific condition and tailor their approach to better meet those needs.

Be consistent.

Make sure you attend therapy sessions regularly. It can be helpful to set a regular schedule with your therapist. Consistency also allows your therapist to monitor your progress, adjust your treatment plan as needed, and provide support and guidance on a regular basis. Additionally, regular therapy appointments can help you establish healthy habits and coping strategies that can benefit you in the long-term.

Take an active role.

Therapy is a collaborative process, so be an active participant. Don't be afraid to ask questions, share your thoughts, and express your feelings. Taking an active role in your therapy can help you build skills and insights that you can use outside of therapy to better manage your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. This can ultimately lead to a greater sense of well-being and a better quality of life.

Practice what you learn.

It's important to apply what you learn in therapy to your daily life. Your therapist may give you homework or suggest ways to practice what you learn in session. Practicing what you learn in therapy helps to reinforce the new skills and behaviors that you are learning. When you practice these skills, you are more likely to remember them and be able to use them in your daily life.

Be patient.

Therapy is a process, and it may take some time to see progress. It's important to be patient and continue to work with your therapist. ​​By being patient, individuals can allow themselves to fully engage in the therapeutic process and give themselves the time and space they need to make progress.

Getting Started with Online Therapy

The length of time that therapy will last is dependent on various factors such as the individual's goals for therapy, the severity of their issues, and their commitment to the process. It's important to remember that therapy is a journey and it takes time to work through and address underlying issues. 

It's also important to communicate with your therapist about your progress and any concerns you may have about the length of your therapy. Trust the process and remember that the ultimate goal is to improve your mental health and overall well-being.

If you’re considering psychological services, CHE Behavioral Health Services provides effective, comprehensive mental health services online to address a number of mental health concerns. With a network of over 900 mental health professionals, we make it easy to find a suitable provider and schedule convenient and affordable care.

To learn more about mental health online services at CHE, please call 888-515-3834. We are ready to talk, and ready to listen.


APA. “How Long Will It Take for Treatment to Work?” Https://, July 2017,

Makenzie Pacubas, MSW, LCSW

CHE Quality Assurance Associate

Makenzie is a clinical social worker who has worked in the mental health field for over a decade and now works in clinical quality assurance with CHE Behavioral Health Services. Makenzie lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband, Justin, and their three pets. She likes music, singing, art, exercise, reading, getting outdoors, and trying new restaurants with her husband