Have you ever had the experience of working on an issue in session, and just as you were starting to go deeper or land on something really good, you’re told time is up? Or experienced how distressing it can be to work on the same target memory in EMDR for several weeks because there isn’t enough time to clear a target? It can be unsettling to wrap up just as you begin and overwhelming to keep bringing up the same distressing memory. What if there’s another way?
The 50-minute “therapy hour” has become an industry standard, a standard that helps with efficiency in scheduling and getting reimbursed by insurance companies, but not one that keeps the focus on what is best for you, the client. With a 50-minute session, 15-20 minutes is spent checking in on what happened over the week at the beginning of the session and helping you transition back into your day at the end of the session, leaving, at most, 30 minutes to engage in therapeutic work. Sometimes, this isn’t enough time to gain traction and discover something new. I want to change this and offer my clients another option, one where we get the freedom to creatively and thoughtfully decide what rhythm works best to meet therapeutic goals and needs.
Imagine having more time to settle into a session, work together at a pace that feels comfortable for you, then transition out without rushing. Or imagine meeting more than once a week, where one session could focus on EMDR reprocessing and another session on talk therapy to integrate what came up for you during reprocessing. What I’m offering is tailored scheduling where my clients and I decide together the length and frequency of sessions that best fits them. For example, this could look like meeting for 80 minutes, 2 hours, even 3 hours, weekly or biweekly, or meeting for 50 minutes multiple times weekly.
Here are some benefits of this approach:
- Therapy can be a vulnerable time. Many of us need time to ease in and out of session. In the traditional model, therapists try to keep the transition in and out of therapy to 5 to 10 minutes on both ends to allow more time to do the therapeutic work. This can feel rushed or jolting to our nervous system. A longer session allows for a space to settle in and transition out that feels more natural.
- Therapy is a process of discovering something new about yourself. When we do something new, it can feel uncomfortable, awkward, and hard, especially when it comes to cultivating greater emotional and physical awareness. For some, the process from not knowing to knowing can take time, as this is uncharted territory. Longer sessions allow more space for the I-don’t-know moments and more time to be curious about the unknown.
- Clients sometimes struggle with what to focus on as many different things occur between sessions. A longer session allows us more time in the beginning to explore the landscape of what has happened before deciding what is most important to zoom in and focus on during the session.
- When meeting more frequently, there is less time between sessions, thus less need to give updates, allowing clients to jump right into the work.
- In longer sessions, meeting less frequently can allow clients to do a bigger piece of work with time in between sessions to reflect and/or practice. While for others, meeting more frequently can help them remember what they worked on from session to session, thus keeping the therapeutic momentum going.
Tailored scheduling can be a great fit for clients who:
- Have limited availability and/or find it easier to schedule in larger blocks of time.
- Are working through a crisis or a time-sensitive issue.
- Are wanting to jumpstart therapy.
- Are wanting to make progress more quickly.
- Are needing more focused time to do the therapeutic work.
- Are feeling constrained by the typical 50-minute therapy hour.
Of course, tailored scheduling is not for everyone. For many clients, the weekly 50-minute pace is just what is needed. I enjoy being flexible in scheduling with my clients so that I can meet their specific needs and accomplish our work faster.
Interested in Dorothy’s more tailored scheduling approach? Call 720.675.7123 or fill out a contact form and someone from our admin team will reach out to you within 24-business hours.