Evaluation of effectiveness of individual therapy sessions over 60 minutes
Research has produced few studies that support the 50-minute therapy session as the most effective session length for achieving optimal therapeutic results. This descriptive study attempted to determine differences in therapists' perceptions of how session length might impact therapeutic process, therapeutic outcome, treatment of specific psychological disorders, and if session length preference was based on theoretical orientation or procedures/techniques. A total of 65 practicing therapists drawn from the International Society for the Study of Dissociation, EMDR International Association, Trauma Incident Reduction Practitioners, San Francisco Society of Lacanian Study, and California Psychological Network completed questionnaires regarding their perceptions about psychotherapy for individuals employing longer session lengths versus the standard 50-minute session.Overall frequencies of questionnaire responses and between groups comparisons were analyzed using Chi-Square. The sample endorsed the use of longer sessions at statistically significant frequencies on the following questionnaire items: three therapeutic outcome items: Increases client's satisfaction, Shortens overall duration of therapy, and Facilitates corrective emotional experience; and nine therapeutic process items: Access to client's emotional material, Integration of experience before leaving session, Deepens development of transference, Working through defenses, Access to traumatic experiences, Integrate traumatic experience within session, Working through traumatic experience, and Improving likelihood of breakthrough experiences. The sample also agreed on the use of longer sessions as potentially contributing to positive outcome for treatment of the following disorders: Substance Abuse, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Specific Phobia, Social Phobia, PTSD, GAD, and Eating Disorders. The findings of this study suggest that longer session lengths may have a positive impact on therapeutic process, therapeutic outcome, and certain disorders. Specific implications for the field of psychology and suggestions for research are discussed.
Original Work Citation
Wolff, R. P. (2005). Evaluation of effectiveness of individual therapy sessions over 60 minutes. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, 65(12-B), 6680
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