Breaking Down Weekly Therapy: The ‘Once a Week’ Approach

by | Oct 2, 2023 | Anxiety, Counseling, Couples Counseling, DBT, Depression, Online Therapy, Stress, Teen therapy

Breaking Down Weekly Therapy: The ‘Once a Week’ Approach

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If you have ever been to therapy, you may have found yourself wondering: why is therapy usually scheduled once a week? Therapy, an essential tool for maintaining and improving your mental and emotional well-being, often follows a rhythm of weekly sessions for most individuals. Keep reading if you’d like to understand why!

The Purpose of Therapy

Therapy is not just a random chat—it is a purposeful exploration of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, aimed at nurturing your growth in life.  It serves multiple purposes, all of which need regular and consistent engagement. Some of these purposes include: 

  • Healing Past Traumas: Unresolved emotional wounds can continue to affect our current lives, even if the event occurred in childhood. Therapy provides a safe space to explore these traumas, understand how they have affected you, and work through the emotions that have come from them. 
  • Developing Healthy Coping Mechanisms: Life is complicated, and sometimes it throws curveballs at you. Developing healthy coping mechanisms is important to navigate these curveballs with resilience and grace. Therapy is a great way to identify and practice these coping strategies, as well as recognize unhealthy coping strategies you may have turned to in the past. 
  • Enhancing Self-Awareness: You cannot have personal growth without self-awareness. Therapy allows individuals to dive deep into their thoughts and feelings. Through introspection, therapy teaches self-awareness, helping individuals recognize their strengths, weaknesses, values, and beliefs. Therapy can also help cultivate the ultimate sense of self-awareness and acceptance: mindfulness. 
  • Strengthening Relationships: The quality of our relationships impacts our well-being. Therapy is a platform that helps individuals improve and understand these relationships and identify room for growth. 
  • Gaining Emotional Intelligence: Emotional intelligence, or the ability to understand and manage emotions, is important for all individuals to have. Therapy nurtures emotional intelligence by providing a space for exploring and processing difficult emotions and learning emotion regulation skills

Regular therapy sessions allow clients to work towards their personal goals steadily, without rushing progress. Weekly sessions provide a balanced approach to addressing client concerns and creating momentum when it comes to progress. 

Why is Therapy Once A Week? 

  • Emotional Processing [1]:

Have you ever felt like you were on an emotional rollercoaster while in a therapy session? That is because a core part of therapy involves emotional processing. Emotions often come pouring out in therapy, and it is vital to have the time to process them properly. The week between sessions gives you space and time to understand the emotions you are experiencing, try out new coping mechanisms, and bring your insights to the next session. 

  • Reflection: 

Reflection is another powerful tool in therapy. A week-long break between sessions gives you a chance to reflect on what you discussed with your therapist, what you have learned, and how you are applying it to your day-to-day life. You may even experience some moments of clarity, in which what you talked about in therapy finally sinks in. Oftentimes, these moments don’t happen in therapy, but instead during your week of reflection. After reflection, when you walk into your next session, you may feel armed with new insights about what is working and not working regarding your mental state. 

  • Practicing New Skills: 

Therapy is not just about learning new strategies for coping—it is about putting them into action. And, for many, this may not come naturally. The week between sessions gives you time to practice the skills you have learned, see what works for you, and bring any challenges back to your therapist. Growth requires practice, and the week in between sessions should be dedicated to putting your learnings into action. 

  • Maintenance and Consistency [2]: 

Consistency is a big buzzword when it comes to therapy, and for good reason. You cannot expect good habits to actually become habits without consistency. When you consistently meet with your therapist week after week, you get closer and closer to personal growth. There are plenty of unexpected events that can happen in life, and you are likely to experience many ups and downs even while participating in therapy. However, heaving a steady rhythm in weekly therapy sessions is like having a compass. It guides you back on your path if you ever were to stray, keeping you aligned with your goals. 

  • Practicality:

Life is not only hectic for you, but for your therapist as well! Juggling work, family, hobbies, and responsibilities can be difficult for anyone. This is why a weekly session fits nicely into this mix. It is doable for all parties and something you can realistically commit to in the midst of life’s demands. Think of it like meeting a friend for coffee. Are you realistically able to block out an hour of time every day for this? Most likely no, with life’s responsibilities. But, are you able to block out this time once a week? Most likely, you are able to commit to this!

Does Therapy HAVE to be Once a Week? 

Although therapy is once a week for many individuals, it is not a one-size-fits-all experience. One of the best things about therapy is that it is crafted to suit your personal needs, whatever those may be. 

Consider your therapist as your dedicated guide to selecting the right approach that fits your individual needs. They understand that each person’s mental and emotional needs are different and that what works for one client may not work for another. 

The frequency of therapy sessions is a flexible aspect of this personal experience. Sometimes, you may find that you need to speak with your therapist every couple of days, especially during challenging phases. Other times, you may find that monthly sessions are more productive and helpful to allow you to absorb, reflect, and integrate what you have learned. It is all up to you and your therapist. Do not hesitate to be open and honest with your therapist about your thoughts on the frequency of sessions!

In conclusion, the week between your therapy sessions is not just downtime. It is your chance to accelerate your growth and practice what you have learned in therapy. Use this time to think and learn—it’s like a practice session for becoming the best version of yourself. Embrace this time and keep on growing!

To discuss how therapy could help you during this season of your life, please contact me or schedule your free 15-minute consultation.

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