This is a good question to which there is no general answer. How many sessions of therapy you need to attend depends on the individual person and the nature of the problem involved. In general, I adopt an approach of client-led ending – I will wait to raise ending therapy when my client raises the issue him/herself. In my experience this can be after five or six sessions, but often up to a year or more of regular, weekly sessions (50+ consultations).
Research in the area reflects my experience of this. Studies reported by the American Psychological Association (https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/understanding-psychotherapy) show that there is no optimal number of sessions – it all depends on the individual case.
I encourage an ongoing conversation about your progress in therapy. If it feels like you are stuck, if the approach is not working, or if you are finding for reasons you can’t quite pin down that you don’t want to come to your sessions, the best thing to do is to raise it with me so we can understand what it is about.
It is normal to feel stuck in therapy at times, and it is normal to feel afraid of change. Even a manifestly positive change can leave people feeling unconsciously vulnerable, and it is natural to resist. I understand this, and I find that a gentle approach to change brings better results that trying to push too fast too soon.
A good psychotherapy process should start with setting goals about what you would like to work on and how long it might take to get there. However, I have found that this plan is one that is refined and elaborated along the way.
The goal for therapy also needs to take into consideration the reality of your budget and was is realistically affordable on a monthly basis. Most of my clients have medical aid which often pays for 15 consultations a year. I do suggest that you don’t rely exclusively on your medical aid for coverage, but plan towards an ongoing budget for your therapy that feels affordable. When we start, we are never sure where we might end up, and it is helpful to settle into a therapy routine where you know that you have the time you need to work through what you need to.