So, what’s up with the 50-minute therapy hour? You have decided to go to counselling. You have called the clinician, scheduled an appointment, and go for your first appointment. During this time, you discover that your appointments are 50 minutes but it is called a therapy hour. How does this happen? An our is 60 minutes long but the therapy session is only 50 minutes… so what has happened the other 10 minutes? Well my hope here is that I can explain this process and help you understand a little more on why you are allotted a 50-minute counselling hour. Counselling sessions are scheduled in 50 minutes because of a few reasons

  1. We are human and sometimes run behind schedule. Yes – this happens regularly. Someone comes in for a session a few minutes late, or the appointment requires a few more moments of attention, or the session takes the full 50 minutes and now the client and clinician are just booking their next appointment. By having a 50-minute session, these things that cause us to run a few minutes behind allow for space for it to be done, without interfering with the next appointment.
  2. Each appointment with clients needs to be charted for legal and ethical reasons. While these are very minimal and short notes, there needs to be notes nonetheless. By having a 50-minute session with clients, it allows for the clinician to complete the client notes while the session is still fresh and present, ensuring more accurate notes as opposed to writing notes hours later.
  3. Time to clear the mind. As clinicians, we hear a lot of stories from clients daily and we make sure to keep each story connected to each client. To allow for this to happen however, we need to take a breath and organize our thoughts, clear our minds, and be ready for the next session.
  4. Basic human needs need to be met. Clinicians, just like you, are humans who need bathroom breaks and snacks. I can promise you that I, in particular, am not going to be on my A-game if I am needing to use the washroom during our entire appointment or having my stomach growing, and interrupting our time together.
  5. Time to make you a cup of tea! In my practice I enjoy offering each of my clients a cup of tea or glass of water for our session. I know I need something to drink over the period of an hour, and think that you might want that too! So, during those 10 minutes, it also allows me times to out the kettle on and have it boiled and ready for your appointment!

All in all, even though the counselling hour seems a bit strange that it is only 50 minutes, those 10 minutes in between sessions are vital for counsellors to have in order to keep each session running smoothly. It allows for clients to finish up what they came to talk about, for notes to be taken, clinicians to clear their minds, have clinicians meet their basic needs, and to keep a warm cup of tea available. Please understand that during our time together, I am making sure that I am able to be present for you during our time together and am utilizing the minutes wisely to keep me present. If you have any questions about the 50-minute hour, or would like to schedule one for yourself, please visit my contact me page to connect.

  Feb 25, 2018


very helpful explanation

Thank you Peter! I hope that it will bring clarity to those looking to start counselling, or for those who have already had experience.

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