How Much Time You’ll Spend on the Couch During Therapy

Going to see a therapist or counselor often means daytime appointments monthly, weekly or even more frequently in severe cases. Although this can be a significant disruption to your schedule, it shouldn’t deter you from seeking the help you need. Knowing how long each visit might last could help you prepare for your commitment to get better.

Therapy and Counseling

Psychologists, licensed clinical social workers and mental health counselors are not medical doctors, but they have the training to work with mental and behavioral issues. Session length often depends on the type of therapy.


Individual therapy sessions ordinarily last around 50 minutes. Depending on your situation, they may be longer or shorter, but sessions rarely dip below the 45-minute mark — most therapists don’t believe they can make progress in a shorter amount of time.


Therapists treating families usually have a short-term target in mind to get the relationships functioning again. While there are many different types of treatments to address a host of issues such as trauma, death, divorce and domestic abuse, appointments with family therapists typically run about one hour.


Couple therapy session length generally runs in line with that of individual therapy; however, the initial assessment period varies a bit. Instead of one visit to address the reasons and goals of therapy, the counselor will often do a series of three intake visits. Each appointment will allow partners to speak together and alone about their relationship and the therapist to offer conclusions and a recommended course.


Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating mental illnesses such as anxiety, personality, mood and psychotic disorders. You may undergo treatment by a psychiatrist if you have a condition that could be managed by medication.

The first visit to a psychiatrist will generally be over an hour, but usually no more than two. In addition to psychological history, the doctor needs to assess your medical history to determine which medications may be most helpful and potentially avoid unnecessary side effects.

After that, most visits are completed in less than 30 minutes, where your psychiatrist will usually evaluate your progress and the medication’s effectiveness. Every case is different, but it is common for a patient to see a psychiatrist for medication in conjunction with a psychologist for talk therapy.

It’s hard to predict precisely how long your specific treatment sessions will last before you start them. Call to schedule a visit with your mental healthcare provider for counseling in Palatine, IL and ask about the average appointment length; they should be able to give you a more accurate timetable.

Thanks to Lotus Wellness Center for their insight into counseling and how much time it can take.