When you attend therapy you are given a weekly slot. This means that each week, on the same day, at the same time, you’ll see your therapist.
There might be an occasional exception to this, depending on your therapist. For example, if you know you will be unable to make a session and request a different slot far in advance, and he or she happens to have the availability, you might have a one-off change.
But in most cases, if you are sick or on vacation, you have to wait until the following week and your usual slot. (Of course these days, if you are doing your therapy by Skype, you can still do your session even when travelling).
So why does therapy works best with a regular schedule?
Yes, having your therapy on a regular schedule benefits your therapist - but it especially benefits you.
First of all, your therapist will have many clients and needs to have structure to his or her working life. It’s important that your therapist is organised and reliable for you, so you can trust them. Plus think of any workplace - there tends to be a schedule. Weekly team meetings are on the same day, as are planning sessions, etcetera.
To do a good job, your therapist also needs to be rested and prepared. Their job involves they be very present, and is not something that can just be done ad hoc. When your therapist has a clearly outlined schedule they then can work in needed breaks and time to restructure and clear their mind. This means you get the best of your therapist, instead of someone who is flustered and unfocused.
And how does having routine to your therapy actually to benefit you?
Most people who come to therapy have a certain amount of chaos in their lives. Perhaps they have a difficult relationship, are struggling with parenting, or feel lost when it comes to career. The last thing you need is any more stress, such as an appointment that changes each week so you have to constantly check your diary or have one more thing to remember.
Trust issues are another factor for many therapy clients. They have not been able to trust other people to be there for them. Knowing your therapist is there each week at the same time and is not going to constantly change your session might help you build a better relationship with them. And it gives you a chance to be trustworthy, too. Your job is to show up each week on time. It’s easier when that is the same time.
It’s especially useful to have routine to your therapy sessions if you are depressed or anxious.
Depression makes it hard to get yourself together and make things on time. When your therapy session becomes a consistent habit this will mean you can make it even when depressed. Depression also makes the best of us forgetful. Routine to your therapy brings continuity, making it more likely you arrive calm and remember what issue you were working on the week before, or any revelations you’ve had since.
Anxiety, on the other hand, leaves your mind obsessing over any new stress. If you had constantly changing therapy sessions you’d likely be very anxious about missing one, or making a mistake with the time. And therapy is there to ease your anxiety, not create more of it!
In summary having your session at the same time each week lowers the stress around attending therapy, creates often much needed stability and trust, and gives you more energy and attention for what really matters - building a relationship with your therapist and finding ways to feel better about yourself and your life.