In Consideration of the Benefits of Long-Term Therapy

I’ll admit that I’m not a great fan of long-term therapy. Most people who know me well know this about me.  I feel that if you’re in distress you’re looking for relief and you’re looking for a way to not get back into the same situation again, but you don’t want to spend years trying to figure out how.  I try to be open-minded, though.  I know a lot of people that are in long-term relationships with therapists and love what they’re getting from those sessions. I think the most important factor is in how therapy goals are formed and how we evaluate progress with clients. For the most part I agree wholeheartedly with the author of the article below.  The article refers to most long-term therapy as becoming a “dead-end” relationship. In my experience that’s because the therapist is determining what the client’s goals should be and what things will be like when he or she has met their goals.  Oftentimes, the therapist doesn’t help the client learn to function outside of weekly sessions and the client becomes dependent on the therapist for their well-being.  That’s just not healthy!  I agree with the author that most people “seek therapeutic help for discrete, treatable issues” and can resolve those issues within a short time frame.  For those who have achieved their goals and want to continue with therapy, or for those who are looking for a longer term, relationship focused experience I think the goals need to also be clearly stated, and the expectation for how long is reasonable for a client to stay in counseling should be discussed.  If therapy is not “working” it’s often because the client and therapist are not in alignment about goals or the therapist is facilitating a dependency that gives clients the message that they can’t make it on their own.

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