Answers To Common Questions About Therapy
Therapy can be an enriching experience for clients looking to process their feelings, manage mental health difficulties, and face life's challenges. Throughout the course of treatment sessions, it can help you learn more about yourself, develop new skills, and take the next step in life, while maintaining a sense of commitment to your ongoing exploration and personal growth. Opening up to a therapist, however, can be daunting if you’re unsure about what to expect. If you're considering therapy, you may be wondering how to find the right therapist for you, how many sessions you might need, what the different types of therapy are, and how the BetterHelp therapeutic process might meet your special needs. Below, we’re going to answer several common questions about therapy that may give you a better idea of what to expect.
What Are The Most Common Types Of Therapy?
There are a number of therapeutic modalities that your therapist may use. Typically, the type of therapy you’ll participate in will depend on your areas of concern, the methods your therapist typically uses, and the time frame for treatment.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
During CBT sessions, the patient typically learns how their thoughts, behaviors, and emotions are connected. They may learn how to identify and replace negative thought patterns that may lead to symptoms of mental health challenges. Weekly sessions, generally spanning a few months, can help individuals practice new skills for managing their symptoms. For example, someone experiencing depression may find they have negative beliefs about their self-worth, which can lead to sadness and other symptoms. Their therapist may then help them improve their self-conception and provide tips for managing depression.
Solution-Focused Brief Therapy
During solution-focused brief therapy, patients usually set and work toward specific goals. When therapists use this type of therapy, they typically try to work toward a future in which the goals have been achieved, as opposed to focusing on the past and current concerns of the individual. Speaking of “how many therapy sessions do I need?” this approach generally involves fewer sessions. During the first therapy session, the therapist might try to find out qualities the individual already possesses that can be used to navigate their specific challenges.
These therapy sessions are often used with individuals experiencing substance use disorder or those living with health conditions such as diabetes. This style of therapy known for its effectiveness, is often employed to help people find the internal motivation they need to make long-lasting changes and maintain recovery from their challenges.
How Do I Know Whether Therapy Is Right For Me?
There are a number of reasons why someone might find it beneficial to work with a therapist.
Reasons a person may have started therapy include:
General emotional support and/or help working toward personal goals
Help with mental health conditions, such as anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, depression, and eating disorders
Assistance with relationship concerns, marriage counseling, or premarital counseling
Help with moving through life transitions and challenging times, such as grief, loss, a move, or a divorce
How Long Does Therapy Last?
The process of therapy can differ from person to person, and the number of therapy sessions that a person will need can vary extensively based on the individual, their areas of concern, and the therapeutic modality being used. The severity of their issues also matters. For example, on average, individuals participating in CBT attend around 16 sessions, while solution-focused brief therapy may only take five sessions, depending on the risk involved in their situation. There’s no wrong number of sessions.
Sometimes, a person achieves their goals after a handful of therapy sessions. For example, if a couple is attending marriage counseling, they may not need to continue going to therapy once they have resolved the root of their conflict and learned the necessary skills to avoid the same challenges going forward. However, Other times, other individuals may need more extensive mental health care or support, as may be the case for those with ongoing mental health conditions or other persistent concerns.
Therapists typically believe that there should be an endpoint for therapy, but the matter of when it ends may vary. There are some instances, however, where that might not be in the best interest of the client. People who have severe mental health concerns, for example, may continue to benefit from therapy indefinitely.
What Happens During A Therapy Session?
The specifics of the therapeutic process depend on a number of factors, such as the reasons you’re attending therapy, the modality your therapist uses, and the presence of other participants (e.g., in family therapy or couples therapy). Some examples of activities you might participate in during a therapy session include:
Reflecting on your week or discussing how life has been since your previous session
Talking about what has gone well recently or what you would like to work on right now
Asking your therapist questions
Learning new coping skills or tools that you can use outside of therapy
Brainstorming solutions for a problem that you run into in your daily life
Your therapy sessions will likely look different depending on how far along you are. For example, your first session will typically include goal setting, a discussion of your background, and a conversation about how future sessions will look, while later sessions may be more focused on checking on your progress.
How Do I Find The Right Therapist?
Before choosing a new or different therapist to work with, it can be helpful to do some research. You can look for a therapist who has experience in the area of mental health that you’d like to address. For example, if you live with obsessive-compulsive disorder, then consider narrowing your search to therapists who specialize in this area. You’ll also likely want to find a therapist you are comfortable with. It's ok to request a free consultation to find out whether you are a good fit. This can save both of you time in the long run. If it’s not a good fit, you can change therapists.
When looking for a therapist, you may also want to know whether your insurance covers any treatment. Some plans cover a certain number of sessions. If you have this information, you can talk to your therapist and ask if any treatment options will be a good fit for the coverage that you have. You might also want to make sure the provider is licensed. You can usually find this information by asking the therapist directly, doing a web search, or working with an online platform that vets its mental health professionals.
What Are The Benefits Of Online Therapy?
Studies show that online therapy can be useful for addressing a number of mental health concerns. A study that focused on online therapy for college students found that treatment could produce significant reductions in symptoms of common mental disorders, with greater improvements being achieved as more online sessions were conducted. Online therapy was found to treat stress, depression, insomnia, and social anxiety disorder in the students. Researchers noted that the combination of therapist support with specific lessons led to significant positive outcomes. Apart from not being able to see your therapist face-to-face and appreciate the therapy room design, online therapy is still a good option to pick.
If you’re ready to start therapy, a platform like BetterHelp can connect you with a licensed therapist who fits your needs and preferences. BetterHelp works with thousands of qualified mental health professionals—practicing across a range of specialties—so you can be matched with someone experienced in your specific areas of concern. Online therapy is also an affordable option—BetterHelp subscriptions start at $60 per week (billed every four weeks), and you can cancel anytime. A mental health provider can answer any questions you have about therapy and guide you through the process so that it’s a fulfilling, healthy experience.
Read below for reviews of BetterHelp therapists from those who have sought help.
“I swear he’s the best therapist I ever had. I know I’m a person who talks a lot but he lets me talk, he actively listens, and he relates to me a lot. He understands my situations and provides me with excellent advice when it comes to how to respond to my difficult situations. He always gives me assurance and support and I truly appreciate him. He is strong support for me right now when it comes to my mental and emotional issues.”
“Kathryn has been an ever-present source of stability and calm during a few tumultuous years. She never fails to show up and be 100% there for you during sessions. She is very mailable and will act as your mirror, friend, guide, or counsel, depending on what you need from her. I feel very lucky to have worked with her.”
Further Reading About Counseling
- What Is Solution-Based Therapy?
- The Benefits Of Behavioral Counseling Sessions And Other Therapies
- Is Phone Counseling/Therapy Appropriate?
- CBT Counseling – A Breakdown
- Why Online Psychotherapy Is Becoming So Popular
- Is Online Counseling Chat Effective?
- What Can Be Expected From Couples Counseling?
- Have Counseling Questions? We Can Help Answer Them
- Top Online Counseling: What Are The Best Online Counseling Sites?
- Would Your Family Benefit From Family Therapy Counseling Online?
- Best Online Counseling: How Are The “Best” Online Therapy Websites Ranked?
- Complete Guide To Free Relationship Advice (And Where to Get Therapy Online)
- Are Online Therapy Sites Effective?
- Benefits Of Premarital Counseling Online
- Are You Feeling Lonely? Online Counseling Is Here To Help
- Is Premarital Counseling Necessary?
- Couples Counseling Cost - Important Factors to Consider
- Marriage Counseling - How Will It Work For You And Your Relationship?
- What Could Be Gained From Child And Family Counseling?
- Your Options In Receiving Counseling Help
- Professional Counseling Services In Daily Life
- Anger Counseling: Finding A Root Of Anger And Addressing It
- Become Closer With Online Relationship Counseling
- Reasons To Look For Relationship Counseling Online
- Sex Addiction Counseling Benefits
- Do Grief Counseling Techniques Work?
- Online Counseling UK Success Stories
- 5 Surprising Things About Online Counseling Services
- Online Counseling Service Studies: What Conditions Can Be Helped
- Benefits Of Grief Counseling
- Benefits Of Sexual Abuse Counseling
- How Does Marriage Counseling Online Work For Two People?
- Benefits Of Online Anger Management Counseling
- How Effective Is Online Counseling For Depression?
- How Can Life Counseling Services Help You?
- Family Counseling: How To Resolve Conflict
- How To Talk To Your Spouse About Online Marriage Counseling
- Top Three Couples Counseling Exercises
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Many Sessions Of Therapy Are Effective?
The number of therapy sessions that a person will need can vary extensively. Sometimes, a person will gain the clarity they need from a handful of therapy sessions. Other times, a person will need more extensive mental health care or support, as may be the case for those with ongoing mental health challenges or other persistent concerns. When you start seeing a mental health care professional for talk therapy, it is common to discuss your goals. Your goals may be part of what informs how long you work with a mental health professional. Once you feel that you’ve gotten what you need out of therapy, whether it is in person or online, you may choose to stop working with a therapist for the time being. Online therapy platforms like BetterHelp allow you to cancel your plan easily when you need to for any reason.
What Usually Happens During A Therapy Session?
What happens during a therapy session depends on a number of factors, such as why you’re attending therapy, the modality that your therapist uses, and the kind of care that you need from the therapist you work with. Some examples of what might happen during a therapy session include:
Reflecting on your week or discussing how life has been since your previous session.
Talking about what has gone well recently and/or what you would like to work on right now.
Asking your therapist questions.
Learning new coping skills or tools that you can use outside of therapy.
Brainstorming solutions for problems that you run into in your daily life.
The therapy services a person receives in online therapy are often similar to those that a person receives in person therapy. For example, even if therapy is conducted over video chat, the modalities or techniques that mental health professionals use may remain the same.
How Do I Know If I Need Therapy?
There are a number of reasons why someone might find it beneficial to work with a therapist. Reasons a person may benefit from mental health services include but aren’t restricted to:
General emotional support and/or progress toward personal goals
Help with mental health conditions, such as anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, depression, and eating disorders.*
Stress management. A therapist might offer emotional support and help you find coping tools or changes you can make in life to help manage stress.
Relationship improvement. This can include marriage preparation (via premarital counseling), help with communication, or improved intimacy.
Help with moving through life transitions and challenging times, such as grief, loss, a move, or a divorce.
Help with concerns such as self harm.**
Support in coping with a physical health condition or concern that impacts your well being.
A person may also seek support for guidance in their career, life skills, or any other area of life. If you’re interested in working with a mental health professional for talk therapy, there are a number of ways to cover the cost. For those who work with companies who have employee assistance programs or employee health plans that include mental health services, this can help cover the cost. One possible restriction of using employee assistance programs or health insurance is that you will have to work with a provider who takes that form of health insurance or who is covered via your employee assistance program. However, there are other resources that can help if these aren’t options for you. You might choose to get care through an affordable online therapy platform or see someone who offers sliding scale rates.
*Please contact the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline (NEDA) via call or text at 1-800-931-2237 if you or someone you know lives with an eating disorder or might be.
**If you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out for help immediately. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline can be reached at 988 and is available 24/7.
If you are looking for someone who offers in-person therapy or online therapy and accepts your insurance plan, you may choose to contact your insurance company directly. You can often call the phone number on the back of your insurance card, go to your health insurance company’s website, or search for healthcare professionals online who take your insurance. You may also ask other healthcare professionals, such as your primary care provider, for a referral.
What Is The Most Effective Therapy?
The most effective kind of therapy varies based on why you are seeking therapy services. For example, a couple needing help with their relationship may benefit most from a modality that is different from one that would be most advantageous for an individual seeking help with trauma, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), an anxiety disorder, or another mental health condition. Further, each of these conditions may benefit from different modalities. For example, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), someone with PTSD might benefit from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Someone with OCD may benefit most from exposure and response prevention (ERP), which is a type of CBT. Learning about the different types of therapy, what they’re used for, and what they might look like during a therapy session can aid you in determining what type (or types) of therapy you might find most helpful.
You don’t have to live with a mental health condition to benefit from therapy, and people seek mental health support for a number of different reasons.
There are many different forms of mental health care. If the first kind of therapy or the first therapist doesn’t work for you, it is okay to try something new. In couples therapy, group therapy, individual therapy, and family therapy, many modalities can be used. Online therapy platforms like BetterHelp make it easy to switch therapists if you need to. The therapists on the platform are all licensed professionals, and their areas of expertise vary.
Different types of communication in therapy may be more effective for different people. Many individuals who get therapy online enjoy using video chat to speak with their therapist, but some prefer audio or phone calls. With online therapy platforms like BetterHelp, you can also use in-app messaging to reach out with a question, an update, or anything else you have to say in between therapy sessions.
What Kind Of Therapy Is Best For Anxiety?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the best types of therapy for various anxiety disorders. It can also be used for many other mental health conditions and concerns, including life stress. CBT can be conducted via online therapy services and platforms or in traditional therapy settings. Studies demonstrate the effectiveness of CBT conducted via online therapy, and some prefer online therapy over in-person therapy due to affordability and convenience.
Sometimes, multiple forms of mental health care are used in conjunction with one another for a person’s treatment plan. For example, many people who live with anxiety disorders and other mental health conditions find that a combination of medication management*** and therapy helps them with symptom reduction. An individual might see a therapist, psychologist, or another mental health care professional for talk therapy and another professional, such as a psychiatrist or their primary care physician, for medication management.
***BetterHelp does not prescribe medication or provide medication management services. Please consult with your doctor before you start, stop, or change a medication regimen.
Support groups and group therapy, while different, can also both be helpful for someone who is living with anxiety or another mental health condition. A person may choose to attend both individual therapy sessions and group therapy sessions or a support group. While support groups don’t replace in-person or online therapy services, they can be a helpful addition and important resource for many.
Is 6 sessions of Counselling enough?
What is the average length of therapy?
What is the success rate of therapy?
Is therapy every 2 weeks enough?
When should I stop therapy?
How do you know therapy is working?
Is 12 therapy sessions enough?
Is therapy once a month OK?
How long does therapy take to work?
How long is a good therapy session?
- Previous Article
- Next Article