The “Therapeutic Hour” is traditionally 50 minutes.
There are both straight forward and complex reasons for this.
Sigmund Freud used this model and it has stuck.
From a practical point of view, it allows 10 minutes between appointments. This means I can write notes and get ready for my next client.
There are also psychological reasons for 50-minute sessions. It sets a clear time frame, a boundary, a sense of containment and allows my clients to take control of what is being discussed.
It is common for something particularly difficult or painful to be spoken in the last few minutes, giving my clients a sense of ‘get-out’, or perhaps setting up a familiar experience of not getting enough back. In our work, boundaries are fundamental and a key aspect of the overall process and therefore, so is consideration of this framework.
I hold to the sense of this therapeutic 50-minute hour whilst also allowing the 10 minutes extra to take place together with you where necessary – this may be to allow for rescheduling or payment or other admin tasks. It may also allow for extra care and attention to closing the session.