How long does therapy take?

So, couple of really good question we’re gonna cover today. One I get quite frequently, the other one I’m going to pose to you. But the one I get frequently when it comes to therapy, how long does therapy take? So, if somebody’s going to get treatment for depression or anxiety or let’s say they have a history of trauma, they want to know, “How long does therapy take to make me feel better?”

If you guys don’t know me, I’m Dr. Jerry Grosso from Nsight Psychology & Addiction in Newport Beach, California, and I’m here to answer questions for you guys and kind of give you an idea about how therapy works, what to expect, and so forth.

So, great question. How long does therapy take? I’m gonna compare that with medical illnesses. Cancer is gonna take much longer and the interventions might be different than, let’s say, a common cold. With mental health, and we’ll say mental illness, we’re gonna describe mental illness a lot more in other videos, but with mental health issues, it will vary based on the severity of the illness. So, it may take anywhere from just a couple of weeks, it could be crisis intervention and I just need to work through something, get my focus back, and move forward.  It can also be more long-standing. Sometimes I hear about people in therapy for years and years. If it’s beneficial, that’s fine.

Let’s look at a couple things. So, how long does it take? Think about it like this. If you’re seeing a therapist, which is a typical one-hour therapy session per week and you see them for six months, which is kind of a typical time. But again, based on the severity it could be shorter, could be longer. That’s only 24 sessions in six months if I’m going on a weekly basis.

So, let’s kind of expand this out. I hear people sometimes say, “Well, I’ve experienced trauma. I’m gonna be in therapy a really long time.” And, again, I’m gonna compare this back to a medical issue. If somebody has been in therapy for, let’s say, years dealing with trauma and they’re not really getting much better, maybe it’s time that the intervention changes. So, you think about with a medical illness. If they’re being treated by a certain medication or a certain procedure and they’re not getting better, they’re not gonna continue to do the same thing over and over again hoping for a different result, they’re gonna change that up.

With therapy it’s the same thing. If you’ve been going to therapy for a long time or you’re afraid, “Hey, it’s gonna take an extremely long time for me to get over this,” not necessarily true. Focused interventions can be extremely effective. If you have been in treatment and you’re not really seeing progress, it’d be a good time to talk to the person that’s treating you and say, “Hey, maybe we should try a different approach or a different direction and so forth.” I will share with you that me, as a clinician, I’m constantly reevaluating, where’s the person at that I’m working with? How much progress are they making, and so forth? And we, meaning me, do I need to change my approach or intervention?

Okay, so let’s get to the better question. What if the question switched from being how long does it take, to, how far can I go? So now we’re looking at more personal growth. It’s one thing if I’m gonna go to therapy to try to overcome something, but what if, once I get through whatever it is, that instead of looking at, well, how long is it gonna take me to do that, but what I do I want to become instead? How do I become a better, stronger, more emotionally healthy and stable individual?

You could apply this to a lot of different areas of life. I could look at it, let’s say, as far as physical health. Well, I’m gonna go exercise. How long will it take me to run a certain distance or how long will my workout take? What if I looked at is as, I wonder how far I could go. I wonder how much I could do. Think about it with work. I got an eight-hour day or I got all this work ahead of me, I wonder how long it’ll take. What if I switched it? I wonder how much I can accomplish. I wonder how much I can get done. I wonder how much that’s gonna change the rest of my life.

So, these are just some things for you to think about. How long will it take? That’s fine, but I’m just looking in a greater sense as far as growth. How far can I go? Who can I become?

So, again, I’m Dr. Jerry Grosso, Nsight Psychology & Addiction. We’re in Newport Beach, California. If you have any questions for me or comments, please send them to

If you like this video, go ahead and let us know and share it. If you don’t like the video or you have comments to make, let’s say you have specific questions, say, “Hey Jerry, I’d like you to answer questions or make a video or talk about this specific topic.” I’m more than happy to do so. So, until I see you next time, enjoy your life. Have a great day.