Updated: Sep 20
If you just started using clinical counselling or psychotherapy service, you might wonder how often people need to see a counsellor. Depending on your needs, here are the recommendations for you:
as frequent as twice a week (in an urgent and high emotional need case)
once a week (typical regular visits)
once every 2-4 weeks (start to get better and be beneficial from routine visits)
up to every couple of months or years (routine visits for maintenance)
every half a year, a year or even years (for specific events that come up again).
Twice a week frequency
People who are recommended to see a registered clinical counsellor (RCC) twice a week often have an urgent, and pressing, need to talk with a professional for relief. They may experience stress, crying, feeling paralyzed, or extreme anxiety. They might have the intention to hurt themselves or others, and in extreme circumstances may feel suicidal. Seeing a RCC more often can decrease the chance of triggering these desires. This frequency is designed for stabilizing moods. If a persons mind feels like it is hot or burning, a clinical counsellor can help cool their mind down. Typically, this would be a stage where a client might also be seeing a psychiatrist for interventions from the biological and physical health aspects. Medication, (proscribed by a psychiatrist), could be another option to help stabilize their moods.
Do not seek counselling when a person needs immediate medical attention, such as harm to self or others. They should seek help from emergency services 9-1-1 (911) or go to the nearest hospital.
Chances are, these services will be helpful to you too if you are in this mode and live near Burnaby or the Lower Mainland:
Crisis Lines can also be the key for those moments when you are in need:
For Adults: 604-951-8855 or toll-free 1-877-820-7444 (Fraser Health Crisis Line)
For children and teens: 1-800-668-6868 (Kids Help Phone)
For seniors: 604-872-1234 (the Seniors Distress Line)
For language specific services: 310-6789 (no area code) or 1-800-SUICIDE
Online Chat Service for Youth: www.YouthInBC.com (Noon to 1am)
Online Chat Service for Adults: www.CrisisCentreChat.ca(Noon to 1am)
Once a week
Most clients see a registered clinical counsellor (RCC) once a week. This is the most typical frequency of counselling sessions if someone is still working through clear and present emotional challenges. During the weekly meetings, clients who are anxious, depressed, have dating and/or relationship problems will be assessed, listened to and provided with practical emotional management skills. The situations they experience may affect their abilities to perform normal daily tasks such as work, sleep, cook, read, write and more. Their personal relationships with their loved ones and their productivity at work are compromised. Therefore, they are recommended to meet with a counsellor in a confidential environment once a week for a professional and objective perspective. The time period between sessions allows them to digest and strengthen their learning; often doing the homework assigned by the counsellor as well to reinforce good habits.
Once every 2-4 weeks
After the emotions and situations appeared to be stable, the therapist will extend the time period between each session, gradually from every two weeks, to three weeks or 4 weeks. Now that some of the most pressing issues have been dealt with, seeing a counsellor once a month is recommended.
The one month period allows more time to accumulate the experiences and discoveries which can be explored in greater detail by the client and their counsellor. The monthly check-in with a counsellor helps people to solve smaller potential problems before they become bigger ones. Eventually, the goal is to help the individual keep their emotions and situations stable for a longer time.
Up to every couple of months or years
When people gain the necessary skills and strategies for emotional regulation, and they are able to perform daily tasks without any influence by mental health issues, seeing a counsellor every couple of months or years is recommended. Many people would question: why do I still need to see a RCC?
Lets think of our mental health as our bedroom. We clean our room regularly now, fold the laundry, change the sheets, and make the bed. So, we have everything under control right? But even then, over time dust can accumulate in the corners, maybe some new clothes haven't found their home yet, some unpacked boxes that haven't yet been organized, maybe the window could use a wash. Some spring cleaning could be in order. This is like someone's mental health, and some periodic maintenance with a clinical counsellor will never hurt.
So now you know, psychological counselling is not just for people who have a mental health issue, but for anyone would like to maintain healthy maintenance of their emotions. If you are not sure how to handle issues that may have negatively influence your mental health, the counsellors at Nuway Counselling are here to help. We are all B.C. registered clinical counsellors or social workers. Click the button below to see a counsellor today!