“How long is therapy going to last?” seems to be the magic question during my phone consultations. Naturally, my curiosity wondered about the factors that could influence the popularity of this question. I was inspired to process my thoughts in my blog and hopefully by the end I’ll be able to provide a satisfying answer to anyone wondering the answer to this question.    

My first thought was that I think a big factor that influences such question is our preference to know how much of our time, effort, and/or money we are about to invest ahead of time. For instance, I had a flashback to grad school. I remembered how knowing the length of my graduate program helped me prepare a lot. I knew that for 3 years I was going to dedicate myself to school. I knew that for one year I needed to rearrange my life because I was going to stop working full time to focus on my internship. Quantifying the length of my program also helped me when the school workload became really difficult. Being able to say “one more year or “two more semesters” really pushed me to see the light at the end of the tunnel and that gave me comfort. I think when people ask “How long is therapy going to last?”, they are seeking for a similar comfort. They want to know when their situation will be better. When they, too, will see the light in their tunnel.

But what about the goals that we unfortunately cannot quantify? Sometimes I wonder if our need for instant gratification is a factor that not only influences our need to know “How long?” but that can also negatively affect our experience when the comfort of quantifying an end time is not possible. An example outside of therapy that came to mind was fitness goals. I remember really struggling when I first started working out. I would become frustrated because my progress was not very visible even though I was working my ass off. My frustration then increased because I couldn’t quantify how much longer until I saw progress or met my goals like I could with grad school. I was unfortunately more focused on how much longer instead of appreciating the journey process.

One of the biggest lessons I learned with this experience that I think relates to therapy was to understand that there is not a magic pill that speeds up the process of reaching an improved lifestyle. When I work out and make healthier food choices I am literally changing my life and the way I live. Therapy is similar. When someone goes to therapy, they are changing their life. Someone is learning and growing. They are adjusting their lenses of viewing their world. They are enhancing their way of expression. They are improving the quality of their relationship with themselves and others. Because of this, I have a hard time quantifying therapy (unless it is through an EAP program, brief therapy, or mandated of course). You see, everyone has a different definition of success regarding their goals. When and how someone reaches that version of success also differs. So, it makes it really hard to answer how long therapy takes to achieve someone’s goals. 

Sometimes I do wish that I had a quantified number to provide comfort to those who have asked, “How long is therapy going to take?” But if I tell anyone what brought you to therapy will be fixed in x amount of sessions I would be lying. Transparency is really important to me, and part of that transparency includes admitting when I do not know the exact answer someone is looking for. The best I could do is provide an estimate. Even then, I think the most truthful answer that I can provide is that therapy may last as long as the person, couple, or family is benefiting from the service. Your quantified number of needed sessions will most certainly depend on your specific goals and whether or not therapy is helping with those goals.  

One thing about therapy that I do feel comfortable guaranteeing, though, is that the journey process will be yours. Although there are similarities between people when experiencing growth such as stepping outside of comfort zones, facing difficult topics, and exploring areas of improvement, the process will be dependent on who you are and your specific needs. Also, as the expert of your life, you will get to decide when the end of therapy should be for you. For some people this has been in a few sessions, others have needed therapy for a few months, and then there’s individuals that have stayed in therapy for years. Whatever the case may be for you, I trust that your expertise will let you know when it is time to terminate just like it told you that it was time to begin therapy. 

Love to all,



So, why did I decide to be a therapist?

Believe it or not, I used to dislike being asked this question. Not because I didn’t know my answer, but because I thought my response was going to discredit the passion that I felt when compared to other people’s inspirations. You see, I didn’t want to be a therapist because of a specific hardship in my life or because it was what I saw for myself at age 5. (Let’s face it, at that age, all I wanted to be was a home designer or a celebrity stylist. True Story.) But as time passed, I learned to embrace my story because honestly- I know being a therapist is my calling!

My journey towards becoming a therapist began with my interest in Psychology. Ever since I can remember I loved learning about the brain, psychological studies, and the history behind the famous pioneers like Freud, Jung, Pavlov, & Piaget. I loved it so much that I knew I wanted to study Psychology when I started my undergraduate education at the University of Houston. Go Coogs!

But although the interest in Psychology was there, I didn’t exactly know what my options were with this career path. I vividly remember having an “Oh, shit” moment during orientation. I thought to myself, “Well, what does one do with a Psychology degree when they graduate?” I would be lying if I told you that I didn’t second guess my choice. I then thought to myself, “Well, I have to finish my basics before I take courses related to my major. Let’s do that first and then make a change if needed.” Looking back, I very much would call this “a plan without a plan” haha.

I took sociology and philosophy courses because they fit my required curriculum for Psychology. The classes were very interesting but it didn’t spark anything for me. Another semester I ended up taking a communication course and explored the possibility of becoming a speech therapist. I think at this point in my life, I knew that I wanted to help people but I didn’t know in what capacity. I remember thinking long and hard about making the switch, but my love for psychology didn’t allow me to be 100% sure of that decision. So I didn’t make the switch and stayed with my original choice.

Then came the fun part. I learned about social psychology, clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, forensic psychology, neuropsychology, etc. Man oh man, was I grateful that I didn’t impulsively act when I second-guessed myself back in orientation. At this point in my journey, I was convinced that I was going to study clinical psychology. I had it all planned out. I was going to apply to the Clinical Psychology program that U of H offered and become a psychologist. In my mind, I was going to help bring awareness to mental health with the help of research. So the logical thing for me at the time was to begin this career path already! I was so excited. I started working as a research assistant with the Clinical Psychology Program. Soon after that I also began working at the Medical Center as a data collector and assisted with a couple of research studies. I was literally preparing for something I just knew was going to happen.

I kind of laugh at myself sometimes. I wish I could portray how convinced I was that this was going to be my path. The research experiences were fun and very interesting. I learned a lot, but deep down I found myself not connecting to the people I was interacting with. I realized that my favorite part of gathering data was the times when I was able to have authentic interactions with the participants. I could live without the data entry, the scripts, the protocols. After all, I wanted to help people, not study them. And while research does help people, I wanted to do it in a way that was meaningful to me. I wish I could say that this was the point in my journey where I decided therapy was my calling. But it’s not. I struggled with finding how I was going to use psychology to help people. There was a point where I even considered forensic psychology, but that lasted about 5 minutes.

I’m a big believer in the power of timing. As fate would have it, one of my school projects was to volunteer somewhere and write about psychological aspects. I ended up choosing to volunteer at a foster home. The children absolutely stole my heart. I wasn’t licensed at the time, and while I did not attempt to do therapy, I saw the benefits that meaningful conversations can have in someone’s life. I enjoyed myself so much that I stayed to become a volunteer even after my project was completed. In my time there, I saw the growth in these children. I saw the impact. I saw the change. I loved the connection building aspect of it. I loved the interactions. I was sold. I knew that I was making an impact on someone’s life and that feeling for me, is irreplaceable. This was the moment in my life where I knew that being a therapist is what I wanted to do. I had found the spark I was looking for. Most importantly, I found the manner in which I could help people that brought meaning to my life. 

Although the stories they would share with me were tough, it never overpowered the feeling of being helpful to someone in need. I have a helping nature, and I thought that having a career that enhanced this characteristic of mine would make me happy. I was right. I will always be thankful for them. I still remember their names, faces, and from time to time I wonder how they are. I wish they knew that it was through my connection with them that I found my calling.

I once read an article that brought up the idea of how we sometimes try to force creative ideas, sparks of interest, or inspirations by making ourselves be in that mental space. But if you think about it, the best ideas come randomly. Inspirations cannot be forced. Genuine passion for something cannot be forced. Looking back I think I tried to force my career path. I tried to make myself feel the feeling that I felt while volunteering at the foster home. Being a therapist is something that makes my heart happy and I didn’t try looking for it. The career found me.

And that is how I decided to be a therapist. I probably don’t have the most inspirational story, but I am proud of it because it says a lot about who I am as a person. I explored and experimented until I found my passion. I didn’t settle for a career path that didn’t feel right for me. There were moments where I was lost and it was tempting to stay in my comfort zone but I stayed true to myself and now, I am living the absolute dream. I get to have the honor of being invited to someone’s life to help them find what they are looking for. I’m seriously lucky to do what I love, and there is not a day that I take it for granted.

I hope that my story helps anyone who is confused or stressed about their current career path to find comfort in the unknown. My career path wasn’t well thought out and I started off with a plan that didn’t even come close to what I actually did. And that’s okay. It can be scary out there. But don’t give up, and keep exploring until you find something that you connect with. It’s a beautiful feeling and you WILL KNOW once you find it. 

Peace and love