May 24, 2024

Weekly Therapy Sessions: How Frequency Builds Consistent, Long-Lasting Healthy Habits

Most couples seeking therapy are looking to make changes of some sort. But how do we change as adults, after having lived so long and having created so many neural pathways?  Some couples may know what those changes are or, some couples may just know that they want something different. A better relationship could mean a lot of things: less anxiety, more fulfillment, peace with the past, less conflict, more comfort.  Whatever it may be that motivates a couple to seek therapy, it’s usually done in pursuit of altering a couple’s current life. Making lasting change is not just about choosing to change – it’s about habits, behaviors, inclinations, reactions, and ways of thinking that are hardwired in our brains. Making a change that lasts, takes repetition. 

In weekly therapy, my clients and I co-create a space that then stretches between sessions. When we meet, the thread is still there from last time.  This makes it easier for my clients to access that soft, vulnerable part of themselves more quickly, allowing the work to move into deeper levels.

With less frequent therapy sessions, clients tend to close off from that tender place in themselves – they put up their defenses in order to interact safely with the world. It may then take most of the session for them to feel safe enough to allow themselves to soften and risk exposing their vulnerability.  Then the session is over and they are gone, until we repeat the whole process of opening again next time.

Weekly therapy also allows for more continuity so there is no need for lengthy reporting on events between therapy sessions. When I meet with clients less frequently than every week, a significant amount of the therapy session needs to be devoted to “catching up” and telling stories of what happened over the week. Therefore, less time is available to focus on the here and now and to go into depth on the issues you are talking about.

On a more practical level, meeting with a therapist every week also assures that therapy is available to you on a regular basis. It allows you to set aside your distress during the rest of the week, knowing that you have therapy coming up soon and you can talk about it then and get support. It is comforting to know that you have that weekly support. In addition, because cancellations happen for a variety of reasons, it is more difficult to maintain frequent contact with your therapist if you meet less than weekly.  For example, if you are scheduled to meet every other week and you get sick on the day of your session and cannot meet, you may have to wait another two weeks until your next regularly scheduled session. So clients end up getting monthly therapy, which is usually not quite frequent enough to make real progress or to provide adequate support.