Breaking the ‘Rules’
Updated: Jun 11, 2019
Someone, (probably Sigmund Freud), once came up with the idea that psychotherapy sessions should last 50 minutes. Back then therapy meant analysis which was a more intensive process than the counselling and psychotherapy models that are the norm these days. The idea of a ‘50 minute hour’ has stuck though, but in our experience there are times when it’s sensible to let go of these ‘rules’ and have longer (or sometimes shorter) sessions. I recall one particular client with whom I broke those time ‘rules’, she told me that had I not offered her the security of extended sessions she feels that she would never have been able to talk about her early experiences which had been so traumatic. I find the same too, in my own therapy, when times have been particularly difficult, I have had sessions of one and a half or two hours. In this extended session I am able to thoroughly unpick the situation that I’m bringing and I have time to work through the arising emotions in a way that 50 minutes would never allow.
Weekly sessions too have become the standard...but again, we question whether this works for everyone; sometimes we need more support than that even if for a short time.
When individuals are able to leave home to travel to therapy that’s a good thing, however getting out to go to therapy is another sort of ‘rule’ or expectation which doesn’t always serve people well, especially when the individual is suffering. We think it is important to be flexible so that we can best support our clients and if that means us travel ling to them, we will do so until they are well enough to travel to us. We know how challenging leaving home can be for some people and we are astounded that there is, in some quarters, an undercurrent of blame and punishment when someone simply isn’t well enough to leave home.