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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How long will it take with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to see some improvement?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • I am a qualified Counsellor and Mindfulness Therapist, and have assisted clients with anxiety, phobia, stress and severe trauma to find healing and peace. I … View Profile

    When you attend CBT sessions, one of the major things that will happen is questioning your beliefs and thoughts, especially about yourself. You need to be willing to be open-minded and cooperative in this activity. If you are, and you work on changing inaccurate or harmful ideas and beliefs, then you will probably see improvement fairly quickly.

    Some beliefs are fairly hard to change and we want to hang on to them. They have been there a long time and are familiar to us. Some people find it more difficult than others to change their beliefs, so this affects progress also.
     
    Also relevant is how well you apply what you learn. Activities are often taught. If so, you will need to practice outside sessions. If you do that regularly, you may start to see improvement fairly quickly.
     
    Intractable and deep-seated problems will take longer to address. But as long as you keep working on yourself, improvement will inevitably occur.

  • My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    In my experience (about 12 months of weekly mainly CBT-based group therapy), it varies a lot. In my case I “graduated” (the clinical psychologist and I agreed that I was in remission after 12 months) - others graduated after a few months while others needed longer.

    I agree with what Pauline wrote about the importance of practising CBT methods  “out of hours”.

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    Thanks

    Elysia Paisley

    Psychologist

    Elysia Paisley is an experienced psychologist who provides individual counselling to children, teenagers and adults of various cultural backgrounds. She is a Medicare provider and … View Profile

    If you see a psychologist, you will probably experience some changes in the way that you feel within the first few weeks but this can vary. This does not mean though that your symptoms or problems will go away, but that they might reduce.

    Some problems are very complex and require more intensive and longer term therapy. Other problems can be resolved more quickly. So regardless of the type of treatment (e.g., cognitive behaviour therapy or an interpersonal therapy), the length of time needed to resolve your problems can be quite different from when you might expect to exerience changes in the symptoms.

  • Renee Mill

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Empowering people is my passion and life work. I have been working as a Clinical Psychologist in private practice for over thirty years. I have … View Profile

    All the answers given so far concur that the time it takes for improvement to be felt varies from patient to patient depending on their personality, the severity of the symptoms and the complexity of the issues. 

    I agree. I would like to add that patients need to have realistic expectations. It is a pity that Medicare seems to have given Australians the belief that any problem can be sorted in 10 sessions.

    While a maximum time cannot be given, a minimum time can be estimated. Research has shown that it takes 90 days to break a habit or change a thought. Therefore, if you would like long lasting change, it cannot happen in less that 90 days. Plus it relies on the patient practicing the new thougths and behaviours they have been taught as often as possible. 

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