August 21, 2023

Intensive Sessions or High Impact Sessions – A Brief(ish) Intro

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I did this funny thing yesterday and I’m wondering if you can relate; I wrote an entire question and answer style blog post. So pleased with having ‘done the thing’! But then realized, after searching around a little bit, that I hadn’t written it, instead opting to do a video. Whoops. Let’s correct that now.

Without further delay, let’s talk about Intensive therapy/high impact sessions and what prompted me to start offering it.

In the area of mental health and emotional well-being, therapy has long been regarded as a powerful tool for personal growth. A tool that many would prefer not to access, but a tool nonetheless. While standard therapy sessions on a weekly or bi-weekly basis are valuable, the concept of intensive therapy/high impact sessions has gained momentum in recent years. This approach offers you an opportunity to explore your patterns of behavior, leading to insights and (hopefully) significant change. (Or the patterns in your relationship with your partner, sibling, adult parent, best friend.)

The Evolution of Intensive Therapy/High Impact Sessions: A Brief History

The roots of intensive/high impact sessions can be traced back to the early developments of psychoanalysis, pioneered by Sigmund Freud in the late 19th century. Freud’s groundbreaking work laid the foundation for understanding the unconscious mind. It also helped us understand the influence of early experiences on our emotions and behaviors. However, it wasn’t until the latter half of the 20th century that the concept began to gain traction.

In the 1950s, the renowned psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich introduced the idea of “block therapy.” This is where clients engaged in longer and more focused sessions to address emotional blocks and trauma. Over time, various therapeutic modalities adopted intensive formats to cater to clients’ specific needs. These formats included intensive group therapy, multi-day workshops, and therapeutic retreats.

While I had never heard of Reich before I started exploring this idea, his notion for ‘blocks’ make sense. When I started a dinner group for a few of my clients, their changes, connections and willingness to be open became obvious very quickly. It was, in many ways, an eye opening experience, which led me here; offering customized intensive sessions or high impact sessions.

The Benefits of Intensive/High Impact Sessions:

  • Extended Exploration and Insight: Intensive/high impact sessions provide an environment for you to delve deeply into your thoughts, emotions, and past. The extended duration of these sessions allows for more comprehensive exploration. That comprehension leads to helpful insights and a better understanding of underlying issues.
  • Accelerated Progress: Traditional therapy sessions typically occur once a week or bi-weekly. In contrast, intensive sessions occur over multiple hours or days in a concentrated timeframe. This concentrated approach can lead to faster progress and quicker resolution of certain issues.
  • Immersion and Focus: Intensive therapy or high impact sessions create an immersive environment where you can fully sink yourself in the process. Distractions from the outside world are minimized, allowing for greater focus on personal growth.
  • Rapid Breakthroughs: The extended duration of intensive sessions or high impact sessions can lead to breakthrough moments that might not occur in shorter sessions. Clients often find that the extended time allows them to connect dots and experience “aha” moments more frequently.
  • Flexibility and Customization: Intensive therapy sessions or high impact sessions are tailored to individual needs, whether that involves addressing specific traumas, relationship issues, or personal development goals.
  • Transformational Experience: Many individuals who have participated in intensive therapy or high impact sessions report a transformative experience. They often emerge with a renewed sense of self, increased self-awareness, and improved emotional regulation.

Does this mean you will experience all the benefits list? Perhaps. Perhaps not. You will be setting yourself up for a greater likelihood of doing so by taking the time now, rather than later, to do the work.

In recent years, intensive or high impact sessions have expanded beyond traditional psychoanalysis to encompass a wide range of therapeutic modalities, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) including mindfulness-based therapy, and more. You can find these sessions offered in a variety of formats, such as individual or group therapy, workshops, and retreats. 

With advancements in technology, virtual intensive sessions have also become increasingly popular, enabling you to engage in immersive experiences from the comfort of your own home. Childcare or eldercare issues, overall scheduling, the uncertainties of travel and expense are all lowered by using safe, secure video links. (In person options are available as well, just ask me about them!)

As mental health continues to gain recognition and acceptance on a global scale, it is likely that the popularity of intensive or high impact sessions will continue to grow. It is more common to hear public figures talking about their own mental health struggles than ever before. It’s even nicer when the professional support they have relied upon. Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons just spoke his own struggles with depression and anxiety. Ed Sheeran has also shared his relationship issues with alcohol and other substances, as well as body image issues. And these are just two names from recent news. 

Intensive or high impact sessions represent an evolution in the field, offering partners and individuals a powerful avenue for personal transformation and growth. Deeply rooted in the history of psychoanalysis, these sessions provide a unique opportunity to explore your previous efforts as well as stumbling blocks. The extra time gives you space to head towards new insights and accelerated progress. As my own practice dives further into this, I hope you’ll join me. 

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