These are a couple of the most often asked questions that I encounter when meeting a new counseling client. And the answer to both is: It depends.
It depends on the issue or problem bringing you in. If there is a specific, identifiable presenting problem, then we can focus exclusively on that topic, and likely figure things out within a few sessions. For more complex concerns, long-term circumstances or relationship issues, the timeline will be longer.
It depends on your commitment to doing the work required to address the issue(s). Once we get acquainted, and have identified the work that needs to be done, it can feel very overwhelming at first. As a cognitive-behavioral therapist, I work to help my clients understand that desired change in our actions and behaviors begins with changes in the way we think about things. Developing an awareness of our inner voice takes time, and altering our thinking patterns requires vigilance.
It depends on your willingness to tolerate the inevitable road blocks that will seem to be in your way of making progress. The ability to look at yourself with a critical eye, to challenge yourself, to consciously make different choices than you have made before, and to endure critique and resistance from others in your life during this process are all very difficult tasks.