How long until my child gets "better?"
As a children's and young people's counsellor, this seems to be a question that is often asked (and probably more often thought) by parents who bring their child along to therapy. It's also a question that many adults (including me) wonder when they start therapy for themselves - how long will it take until I start to feel better? Usually when parents or carers bring their child to counselling it is a last resort - they have tried everything that they know and they are desperate. I know for myself when I began therapy it certainly wasn't my first choice of action - I had tried lots of different things first and only when they failed did I book myself in to see a counsellor.
Sadly, there are no set timescales in how long it will take for therapy to start to make a difference. There has been plenty of research done on the subject. Some research says that you should see at least a little change within six sessions but then just as much research says that it is impossible to offer such clear cut answers as to how long until things start to get better.
Some people will see a difference after just one session but for the majority of people it takes longer. Perhaps the most important thing to look out for is the quality of relationship between the client and the therapist. Research has shown that it is that, above everything else that determines whether you will see a real change or not.
So in terms of how quickly you can expect to see a difference - sadly that answer is as long as the proverbial piece of string and it can depend on many factors. However, if you feel that the person in therapy is making a good and real connection with their therapist then the chances are that the process is worth sticking with - even if you don't see the change as quickly as you may like.
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About Sue Brown
Sue Brown is a qualified children's and young people's counsellor. She is based in Sheffield and works across South Yorkshire and offers online therapy to young people. Sue also works in a number of local schools offering therapeutic support to pupils struggling with a range of difficulties.