How Often Should You See a Therapist for PTSD?

As an expert in the field of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), I can tell you that attending weekly therapy sessions is the most effective way to help you achieve your therapy goals. It's common enough, but leave enough time between sessions so that you can develop skills that help you cope and increase mindfulness. Trauma-focused treatments for PTSD are usually given once or twice a week. Initial evidence suggests that the frequency of sessions affects the response to treatment, but very few trials have investigated the effect of the frequency of sessions.

The objective of this study is to compare the treatment results of sessions twice a week with those of two treatments for PTSD related to childhood trauma, image rewriting (IMR) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). We expect that both treatments will be more effective when given twice than once a week. We will also investigate how the frequency of sessions affects the response to treatment, if the type of treatment moderates the frequency effect, and what type of treatment and frequency work best for whom. Just as you have to include therapy in your schedule, your therapist should also adapt it to your schedule.

Many people wonder about the logistics of therapy, from how to find a therapist to how often to go to therapy. In addition, all therapists must have completed additional 2-day training in EMDR or IMR for childhood trauma-related PTSD, focusing on the treatment protocols investigated in the study. You and your therapist can be creative in finding ways to help you stay connected without going outside your financial limits. Finally, the training requirements for therapists differ between types of treatments and there is no budget available for intensive supervision by experts outside treatment centers.

If you have a limited budget but are determined to get the support you deserve, your therapist can help you come up with a plan that works for your finances and your mental health. In order to participate, EMDR therapists must have completed level 1 basic training in EMDR and IMR therapists must complete a basic training course in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The level of investment you make in the process is an important factor that influences how often you should see a therapist. After the evaluation, 24 weeks after the start of treatment, the therapist will visit the patient to evaluate them and determine if further treatment is needed.

In online therapy, visits to the therapist twice a day, five days a week, are considered the equivalent of a 45-minute session. All of the therapists in this study are psychologists, psychotherapists, or psychiatrists trained in IMR, EMDR, or both types of treatment. The availability of your therapist is another practical detail that will influence how often you can go to therapy. In session 12 (or sooner if all disturbing memories are processed before this session), the therapist is instructed to administer the future template.

In short, the therapist helps the patient to imagine a traumatic event and then an auxiliary figure is presented that changes the script to obtain a better result in which the needs of the traumatized person are met. To sum up, attending weekly therapy sessions is recommended as it is most effective way to help you achieve your therapy goals. However, depending on your budget and availability of your therapist, it may be possible to attend fewer sessions while still getting adequate support for PTSD.

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