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What are Therapy Sessions?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A therapy session is the period of time when a person is actively engaged in therapy. Therapy sessions can be for any type of treatment including certain intravenous drug therapies, hydrotherapy, mental therapy or counseling, or physical therapy. The type of therapy may determine the length of the session and type of need can determine how many sessions in total people will undergo.

Many therapy sessions last for about an hour. This is true of a number of physical therapy treatments and of things like counseling. Most people will want to know exactly how long each session takes, since the majority of people have busy lives and must figure out how to arrange their schedules. Usually schedule concerns give way to what the person or clinic conducting the session is able to do. Since they must schedule multiple people, it isn’t always possible to find a perfect fit, and health concerns may be too vital to walk away from an offered time.

Another thing that may vary with different forms of treatment is the interval between therapy sessions. Sometimes this is left up to the person. For instance, people might choose to see counselors every other week. Other times, the therapy must occur at regular and specific intervals. Chemotherapy and physical therapy are examples of this.

How long therapy sessions are needed is another variable. Some people pursue counseling for years, especially psychoanalysis, and might attend several sessions a week. Other things like chemo may be for a specific amount of time and then discontinued. Alternately, the total number of sessions might be based on progress of the treatment.

One of the reasons people may be concerned about therapy sessions is because insurance companies and government insurance may limit the amount of sessions a person can have. This is true for things like mental health counseling, particularly when the underlying cause is not biologically based. New changes in the rules in the US now demand that insurance companies offer parity coverage for biologically based mental conditions, and session amount can’t be limited.

However, even when coverage is extended, payment for sessions is often treated much like seeing a doctor. People may have to make a copayment or pay coinsurance each time they get a session. These costs may quickly add up. Sometimes when costs are prohibitive it is possible to talk to the person or clinic conducting the session to ask for reduced copayment or coinsurance fee. Not all are open to this.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By Bhutan — On Nov 22, 2010

Suntan12-There is also a company by the name of Isdera that has a site called Itherapy. This site offers free online therapy for people that are immobile or are just embarrassed to see a therapist face to face.

The company’s mantra is that they want to use technology to offer privacy to their customers and ease any potential embarrassments. Free therapy sessions might also be a way to get feedback on your situation in the least invasive manner possible.

By suntan12 — On Nov 22, 2010

Comfyshoes- I could not agree with you more. I wanted to say that some people are embarrassed to go to a therapist, but a great alternative might be online therapy sessions.

This way you do not have to leave your home and it does not feel so threatening. Richard Sansbury offers online therapy sessions.

He has been a psychologist for over thirty years and even offers some free online therapy sessions based on your problems.

He offers ways to cope with anxiety and depression. He also offers communication tips and information on how to improve relationships.

His company is called Headworks and he offers a library for people that want to seek answers but are not ready for therapy.

By comfyshoes — On Nov 22, 2010

Cafe41-This can give the therapist insights as to what triggers cause the emotions that lead to the addiction.

For example, if a patient claims that they overeat when they are sad, or shop when they are stressed it signifies that the patient is using the eating or shopping as coping mechanisms to mask the real feelings of depression and anxiety.

This is why people continue to have weight problems despite knowing exactly what to eat or when to exercise.

When people try to cope with problems in this fashion instead of seeking some form of therapy, they create larger problems for themselves that lead to more eating or spending money.

It is a vicious cycle because emotional problems have to be dealt with emotionally.

By cafe41 — On Nov 22, 2010

Cognitive therapy sessions offer ways of people to deal with their afflictions through different techniques which include behavioral modification.

Often a patient might be asked to take notes in a session or recall the very feelings and times that caused the most disruption in the patient’s life.

For example, these emotions or feelings are triggers that a therapist examines that cause us to stray from our goals. A therapist might suggest that the patient keep a journal and logs his or her emotions in the journal and brings it to the therapy session.

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia...
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