What is a "50 Minute Therapy Hour?!"

Welcome to the blog of Roya Dedeaux, Marriage and Family Therapist. You are reading one of the posts in my “Shrinking the Stigma” series – where I will answer questions people have about the logistics and process of therapy. Because of its confidential nature, we tend to shroud the therapy process in so much mystery! My blog attempts to dispel that mystery and make it easier for you to use it as the wonderful resource it can be. Check out the other blog posts at royadedeaux.com

What is a “50 minute therapy hour?”

Many therapists schedule sessions for 50 minutes long. It is really a logistical function - scheduling for 50 minutes means that we can schedule clients every hour, and still have time in between. This is a fairly standard practice for therapists. When I was a trainee seeing my first clients, I remember how difficult it was to stick to that! Between clients we had to write our notes (which again, when you’re first learning, take time!), and that was our chance to go to the bathroom, eat a snack, play a game of Bejeweled on our phone, step outside for a minute, check our voicemail… and above all, switch gears and refocus to see a new client! As a trainee, I often saw 6 or more clients back to back, which meant those 10 minutes between were precious.

As a licensed professional I now have more leeway to build my schedule the way I want it - and I find that the 50 minute hour still works logistically. I still have notes to keep, super bills to write, voicemails to check, and the need to decompress between clients. This is my business, and so if I am going to be renting office space for 4 hours in a day, then I prefer to see 4 clients in that time, rather than 3 -- which only works if I keep to my 50 minutes!

There’s a slightly more philosophical reason for this too - which is that good therapy requires good boundaries. Clients come in and share some of the most intimate, scary, sacred pieces of their lives with me. Boundaries can get blurred. It can get easy to get wrapped up in a client’s narrative - I would listen for hours if I could, sometimes. But good therapy needs to stay therapeutic and not cross the line into friendship or even just storytelling. Sticking to a predetermined amount of time is one way to keep that established.

“What if I don't like my therapist? How do I find a good one?” Look for answers to these questions and more in other blog posts here at royadedeaux.com!

Roya Dedeaux is an Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice in Los Alamitos, California. She works with children, teens, adults, families and couples to help everyone express themselves better and lead more congruent lives. She specializes in working with individuals who feel like they don’t quite “fit the mold,” and helping them reduce the barriers to accomplishing their goals. To make an intake appointment, call (657)464-ROYA or email royadedeaux@gmail.com.

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