Last updated:

April 1, 2024


 min read

How many Therapy Sessions will I need in Total? Decoding the Question!

Delve into the complex question of how many therapy sessions are needed, exploring factors like therapy approaches, individual needs, and more. Gain insights into therapy duration and find personalized mental health support at Rocket Health India.

Reviewed by
Sneha Toppo

Client: So, I wanted to understand how many sessions will I require?

Counsellor: Hmm… To be honest, it’s just our first session, and I won’t be able to help you with the total number of sessions we may need to have… If you can give me some more time, I will let you know after a few more sessions about the approximate number. 

You might have had this conversation on your first day of the session with your therapist or sometimes even before your session. It's normal to feel curious and okay to ask your therapist this question. Through this article I will try to answer this curious question. 

What is Therapy?

To begin with, let's understand that the word ‘therapy’ stems from the Greek word ‘therapeia’ which means ‘healing the mind or the soul’. Now, philosophically, mind and soul, both these terms are abstract as we can’t see them, but they are to be experienced or felt. When we are physically hurt, we can have someone do the first aid for us, we can visit a doctor or even if needed a surgeon. The wound gets healed through the medicine and other required medical care in a few days/ weeks/ months.

Therapy is a Process, a Journey!

Now, try to imagine that you are climbing a mountain with a heavy sack on your shoulders, and once you reach the destination or the top, you keep down the sack for relief. But, the shoulders still remain in pain for some time due to the heaviness. Similarly, if you are carrying emotional heaviness for a longer period of time, it may take some time to put it down. One may even spray or apply a relief gel for the muscle pain to reduce, but it may bring in some sort of irritation for sometime; similarly, in therapy sessions, when one tries to address the heaviness, it feels hurt, overwhelmed and even doubtful of coming for the sessions. But, as Carl Rogers would say, “The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination.” 

Therapy is a journey which one chooses to walk on for their mental and emotional well-being. The process of therapy starts with exploring the doubts, questions, apprehensions one has about therapy and the process. The primary concern for any therapist is to create a safe, comfortable environment for the client to be vulnerable and open up about their concerns. After the relationship is built, then slowly and without traumatising the client, they dive deeper into the disturbance and heaviness; leading to forming goals together and working on them. The sessions are terminated when the client and therapist qualitatively and sometimes quantitatively see a slight change in their thoughts, belief systems, emotions, and behaviour - trying to regulate them amidst the stress, feeling overwhelmed and trying to have a healthy mental and emotional well-being! Hence, it gets difficult for the therapist to help the client understand the exact number of sessions in the initial stage of the process. 

Through various research studies we understand that the number of sessions depends on the problem and the other factors, like intentionally not coming for the sessions, rescheduling the appointment, no motivation, due to holidays, differences between the therapist and the client, and many other factors. Berkham (2006), proposed a ‘good enough level’ (GEL) model which states that the treatment duration depends on the client’s response to the therapy, which means that there is less or no relation between the treatment duration and the chances of  improvement. The GEL model also considers the context of the therapeutic relationship, focusing on the client's improvement at different stages and the therapy is continued until no treatment is further needed. 

Approach Matters Too!

The number of sessions also varies with the therapy approach used by the therapist. Let us see a few examples. In a study by Kraft et. al. (2006), it was found that psychoanalytic and psychodynamic approaches require more time than other approaches. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) typically involves a structured program that ranges from about 12 to 20 sessions on average. However, the exact number of sessions can vary depending on the individual's needs and the complexity of the issues being addressed. Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is often a relatively short-term therapy compared to other modalities like CBT. REBT can range from a few sessions to several months of therapy. An EMDR therapy session is 60-90 minutes.

It could take one or several sessions to process one traumatic experience. A full course of EMDR therapy can range from 6 to 12 sessions or more. Some individuals may require fewer sessions, while others with more complex trauma histories may benefit from additional sessions. Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) follows a treatment protocol of facilitating the sessions for 4 weeks- including eight 2 hour long sessions over 4 consecutive weeks; or 2 hours session once a week for consecutive 8 weeks.


The total number of psychological therapy sessions required can vary widely depending on the individual, the nature of the issues being addressed, and the type of therapy being used. Some people may benefit from just a few sessions, while others may require ongoing therapy for a longer period of time. It's best to discuss this with your therapist, as they can provide a more personalised estimate based on your specific needs and goals.

Rocket Health India is a leading provider of online therapy services in India. With a team of experienced therapists and a user-friendly platform, Rocket Health India offers convenient access to high-quality mental health care. Their therapists are trained in various therapeutic approaches, and are dedicated to providing personalised care to each individual.

With the rise of online therapy services like Rocket Health India, accessing quality mental health care has never been easier. Take the first step towards a happier, healthier life.

Contact Rocket Health India today to schedule your first online therapy session!


Barkham, M., Connell, J., Stiles, W. B., Miles, J. N. V., Margison, F., Evans, C., & Mellor-Clark, J. (2006). Dose-effect relations and responsive regulation of treatment duration: The good enough level. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74(1), 160–167.

Kraft, Susanne & Puschner, Bernd & Kordy, Hans. (2006). Treatment Intensity and Regularity in Early Outpatient Psychotherapy and Its Relation to Outcome. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy. 13. 397-404. 10.1002/cpp.505.


Reese, Robert & Toland, Michael & Hopkins, Nathaniel. (2011). Replicating and extending the good-enough level model of change: Considering session frequency. Psychotherapy research : Journal of the Society for Psychotherapy Research. 21. 608-19. 10.1080/10503307.2011.598580.