Anyone considering therapy may have a lot of questions about what the process is like. You may especially be curious about how long each session might be. Limited free time during a busy work day can make it hard to comfortably fit therapy sessions into your schedule. Whether you’re seeing a local therapist in Austin or joining a session online, most therapy sessions take between 45 to 55 minutes. Some people may know it as “therapy hour,” and since the session doesn’t usually exceed 60 minutes, most people can make time for a session. Most patients will see a therapist once a week, but in some cases, therapists may recommend two sessions per week, depending on the situation and availability.

Let’s look at some benefits to the hour-long period.

Logistical benefits

For patients, it’s feasible to carve out about an hour a week for a session. For therapists, especially when seeing patients back to back, a 50-minute session gives them time to complete notes, take a quick break, or simply relax and decompress after a heavy session.

Supports mindful usage of time

With too much time during a therapy session, small talk or tangential conversations that have little to do with what’s being discussed may take over. A 50-minute appointment encourages patients to address the main issues sooner rather than later. It also allows you to discuss the issues in sufficient depth, which would be more difficult in a shorter session.

When a session may be longer than 60 minutes

While one-on-one therapy sessions usually take up an hour or less, other situations may require more time.

Couple’s counseling: Most traditional couples counseling sessions will last the standard therapy hour. There are times, however, when a therapist may recommend sessions of 90 minutes or more. Longer sessions are helpful for both partners to fully express and process issues as well as understand the recommendations for moving forward.

Group counseling: Because group therapy typically has multiple participants, the session may last longer – up to two hours. A longer session allows the therapist to connect with each person in the group.

Intensive sessions: Sometimes, your therapist may suggest longer sessions to work on specific issues. Depending on the therapist’s recommendation, these longer sessions may range from 90 minutes to two hours.

For the most part, you can expect your sessions to be about an hour long. If an intake or intensive session needs to be longer, your counselor will let you know so you can make time accordingly. Your time per session is limited, so remember to use it wisely. It may help to make notes or discussion points in advance if you’re afraid of veering off topic.

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