confidential. professional. personal.
Counselling & Psychotherapy Malta
By Dr Patricia Bonnici CPsychol
Counselling Psychologist and Psychotherapist
Long term therapy explained
What is long-term therapy and how does it work?
In long-term work we will go deeper into the issues that brought you to therapy. We will have the time to build a strong therapeutic relationship that will enable you to trust me with issues that are often very painful and that take immense courage and strength to speak about. Many people feel that some things are so painful, private or shameful that they cannot tell anyone about it. And I realise that you might need a longer time to feel safe enough to talk about them with me.
Long term therapy gives you the opportunity to work out issues which might be deeply ingrained and to gain a clearer understanding of why you do certain things which do not bring you what you desire. It is essentially a journey of self-discovery, growth and change.
In our sessions we will talk about your issues and explore them in depth to increase your understanding of them. This does not necessarily mean talking about your childhood, though sometimes this is discussed. We will then work together to find better ways of being in the world that will help you to deal more effectively with your life, work and relationships.
What issues are appropriate for long term therapy and what benefits can you expect?
Longer term therapy can work with any issue that is causing you distress. Perhaps you simply want a safe place to talk about what is troubling you – intimate relationships, family troubles, feeling lonely and isolated or a sense of life lacking in meaning and pleasure. Therapy might be a useful support while you are going through life changes – such as a divorce, or re-locating to a new city or country.
Maybe you have struggled with low self-esteem and self-worth for years and this is holding you back from getting the promotion you deserve at work, or from starting a fulfilling intimate relationship. Similarly you might be facing a daily battle with high levels of anxiety that stop you from taking risks and enjoying life to the full.
Perhaps you feel depressed and you’re finding life very difficult to handle at the moment and all you want to do is hide away. Or you are the survivor of abuse and violence – childhood sexual abuse, rape, intimate violence in your relationship with your partner.
Maybe you would like help dealing with addiction – to food, drugs, love, sex or pornography and would like to understand what part these substances are playing in your life, what needs they fulfil and how to find a healthier way to meet those needs.
These are some of the many issues that could benefit from long term psychotherapy. If your issue is not listed here, do not hesitate to get in touch with me and we can discuss your needs.
The goal is for you to feel better able to live your life with purpose and meaning, to feel more fulfilled and happy, to reach your goals and the fullest of your potential, to be better able to accept things that cannot be changed and to handle life’s inevitable problems with more resolve, faith and strength.
How many sessions does it involve?
Long-term therapy can last anywhere between 12 sessions (3 months) up to 18 months. The exact number of sessions will depend on what sort of issues you bring to therapy, how severe they are right now and how long they have been going on for. Usually the more complex and severe the problem and the more deep-rooted it is the more sessions are required.
Some people come to therapy for personal development and growth and might like to have open-ended therapy. Psychotherapy and Counselling Psychology trainees are usually required to be in therapy for the duration of their course which is generally 3-4 years long.
On a regular basis throughout our therapy we will assess how things are going, how you are benefiting from the therapy and whether you have achieved the goals you set for yourself. This will help us decide when it is the right time to stop our sessions.