How many therapy sessions are needed for trauma?

Conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder usually take 15 to 20 sessions for 50% of patients to feel an improvement. People treated with cognitive behavioral therapy have been found to report feeling better after around 10 to 20 sessions. It's also good for people who are faced with a specific type of problem. For example, trauma, anxiety, depression, grief, and divorce are some of the popular reasons for weekly sessions.

Finally, weekly sessions are important for overcoming old behavior and reprogramming the brain. The frequency of meetings with a neutral party allows you to recognize patterns in your behavior and thoughts. Biweekly sessions may seem excessive, but this is simply not true. The reality is that sometimes weekly meetings can feel like a consultation rather than an exploratory relationship.

Often, you can only talk about one area or thing that has happened to you. Twice-weekly therapy, on the other hand, allows you to go much deeper. Traumatic experiences can leave a deep impression on the body and mind. The impact can appear immediately or years later, affecting your mood, your relationships, and even your sense of self.

However, there are effective treatments to help you recover from trauma. Internal family systems (IFS) are a type of talk therapy developed by therapist and academic Richard Schwartz, PhD. Your therapist can help you understand how early childhood experiences, family dynamics, and current relationships that may be shaped by trauma affect your coping methods and your current beliefs about the world. A weekly session is ideal for people who want to develop skills related to things such as mindfulness, overcoming and communicating.

Narrative therapy is a newer approach to treatment in which the therapist will help you “rewrite” your story to make sense of your experiences and shape the way you view yourself and the world you live in. There are many evidence-based practices (EBP) to treat trauma and PTSD, which are interventions that have proven effective in working with specific populations, although not all recommended therapies are EBPs. EMDR is an individual therapy that is usually given once or twice a week for an average of 6 to 12 sessions, although some people benefit from fewer sessions and others from more sessions. In CPT, your therapist will help you learn to challenge and change unhelpful beliefs about trauma that keep you “stuck”.

It's also important to remember that an important part of therapy is the relationship with the therapist. However, one study found that twelve to sixteen sessions were usually enough for the average person to experience a positive change in their life. In hypnotherapy, a therapist places you in a trance-like posture, in which you are awake and aware, but relaxed and able to avoid distractions. There is always another therapist willing to try other techniques that are more comfortable for you.

The technique aims to help you relieve trauma faster than other treatments for PTSD by helping you “reprogram the way the brain stores traumatic memories” in one or three sessions. Your first appointment is to meet your therapist, talk about your mental health, and decide if you're comfortable with him. In psychodynamic therapy, your therapist will help you understand how your past has affected your current emotions, behaviors, and relationship patterns. While previous therapy techniques have received the most attention in research, trauma therapists may also resort to other therapeutic methods.


Ruth Bupp
Ruth Bupp

Total music maven. Infuriatingly humble pop culture advocate. Proud coffee enthusiast. Infuriatingly humble food scholar. Freelance twitter guru. Evil beer junkie.

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