Anxiety

How Long Does Therapy Last?

This is a recurring question at every one of my workshops, presentations and intro sessions.

And the answer is - it depends. It depends on what you’re seeking therapy for, how long you’ve waited to seek treatment, the approach of the therapist you choose and how much and how hard you are willing to work. It also depends on you level of self-awareness. So really the length of therapy depends on you, the client.

I believe in shorter-term therapy, a few months to a few years (max). I would never kick a client out of therapy but I would definitely wonder if I were doing my job to the best of my ability and if I was the right therapist for you if you saw me weekly for the exact same struggle for 2+ years and nothing had changed. That’s not to say that people can’t and don’t struggle with the same issue for more than two years (that’s actually quite common) but I strongly believe that there should be some forward movement, some change, no mater how small.

I tell my clients that my job is to put myself out of business. My job is to empower you and to provide you with the right skills, tools and techniques so that you can achieve your goals and be in control of your own life.

Therapy with me starts with 50 minutes once a week until you feel like you have a better handle on whatever it is we’re working on. Then we start to space things out to every other week and then to once a month until you are ready and can say, “Minal, I feel great. I know how to find you if I need to and I think I’m ready to end therapy.” Those words are music to my ears. We then assess where you are in relation to your goals, what you’ve accomplished and we schedule our final session. Final sessions are so bittersweet.

I don’t believe in therapy for years upon years (I’m not an analyst) and I don’t believe in keeping you in therapy once you’ve achieved your goals just so that I can have a full caseload or so that I can pay my bills. Therapy is for you. And once you’ve decided that you got what you came for, then we’re done, at least for now. My door is always open and you can certainly always come back.

So, if therapy starts and ends when you're ready, the next questions is what's stopping you from being ready? (Click here to schedule your free intro session now!)

 

What is Therapy?

During my WeWork Workshop last week on “How to Manage Anxiety in the Workplace,” one of the attendees asked a wonderful question. “What exactly is therapy?” He was slightly embarrassed for not knowing the answer and excused his “ignorance” as he called it, but truthfully I thought the question was brilliant and a great reminder for me. I told him just that.

As a licensed psychotherapist, or as in most trained professions, I forget that most people don’t know what I know. Most people didn’t go through the same regiment of additional education and 3,000 hours of grueling training. The definition of psychotherapy isn’t ingrained in their brains just like the definition of certiorari (a legal term) and obdormition (a medical term) are not ingrained in my brain. And so for me, the question was a great reminder that when talking about therapy, I need to start at the beginning rather than somewhere in the middle.

So – what is therapy (aka psychotherapy, talk therapy and counseling)? Therapy can be defined in many ways depending on who you ask. If I had to sum up therapy briefly, I would describe it as self-discovery or the intentional act of setting aside time for yourself every week (50 minutes to be precise) to gain more self-awareness leading to balance, fulfillment and clarity.

People attend therapy for a variety of reasons including (but definitely not limited to) to be heard, to be seen, to be understood, to explore, to problem-solve, to navigate transitions, to grieve and to heal. You can learn to answer questions such as, “Who am I?” “What are my values?” “Is this relationship working for me?” “Why do I say such mean things to myself?” “Why do I feel so alone all the time?” “Where am I going in life? And “What obstacles are standing in my way?” You can dive deep into figuring out where your anxiety or sadness or depression or self-doubt comes from and work to manage it so that you feel in control of your own life. And you can examine your relationships, your career path and your communication styles so that you can exist in a way that feels true to who you actually are.

Historically going to therapy meant you were “crazy” or that something was “seriously wrong with you.” The stigma around therapy was so intense that no one even wanted to say the word. Now more and more I’m finding that that’s not the case. The stigma around therapy is slowly, very slowly decreasing, and now rather than a weakness, therapy can be seen as a strength. At least, that's the way I see it. I see therapy as a way to take time for yourself, a means of self-care, and a path to discovering your strengths and your authentic self, your best self. 

So, what are you waiting for?

17 Tips to Boost Productivity & Happiness in the Workplace

CHALLENGE: I challenge each of you to try all of these for 1 week. If that feels like too much, start with the 1st and incorporate 1/week until they become a part of your routine.

 How to Be More Productive:

·     Manage your time by doing the most important tasks first

     o Take 5-10 mins on Monday morning to make a list of all the things you need to get done.

     o Rank them from 1-10; 1 being most urgent, 10 being a task that need to get done this week.

     o If you have multiple number ones, pick the one you’d like to do the least and start there.

·     Focus on one thing at a time

·     Know and accept your limits

      o Find a way to say no/pushback in an authentic and respectful way. This allows you to                      focus on your tasks to the best of you abilities without feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

·     Take breaks

      o If not hourly, then take a 5-10 minute break every 2 hours and step away from your desk.

·     Make a list of your accomplishments at the end of every day

      o Bold the ones you’re most proud of and congratulate yourself.

 

How to Feel Happier:

·     Listen to soothing music  

·     Have fun and laugh

      o Laughter lowers our cortisol ("stress hormone") levels

·     Connect with someone at work

      o Face-to-Face with someone new for 2-5 minutes a day

·     Bring a small puzzle to work

     o Do it on your break or leave it in the common room to help build community

·     Choose tea over coffee                            

·     Stay hydrated

      o Drink from a clear cup/bottle with a straw

·     Eat nutritious food

·     Get a good night’s sleep

      o Try to sleep and wake at the same time every night. Our bodies love routine.                     

·     Exercise

     o 20-30 mins/3-4x/week

·     Quick and easy massages

      o Tennis ball

      o Quick eye, face and hand massage

·      Journal

      o Put pen to paper vs. typing on your computer. (This sends a signal to our brains to relax.)

·     Practice Mindfulness

     o The act of being intentional and present; noticing, pausing and breathing without                              judgment

 

I would love to hear how these tips worked for you, if you would like more information on any tip, or if there’s anything you would like to add! Please email me at hello@honestspacetherapy.com.