Successful outcome and number of sessions: When do counselors think enough is enough?
Abstract60 counselors rated 166 female and 97 male clients seen at a university counseling center over a 3-yr period on 4 outcome measures: psychic distress, interpersonal relations, performance, and overall severity of client's problem. Improvement was studied as a function of the number of weekly sessions for which clients were seen. Results reveal that through 20 sessions there was a strong and consistent (across all outcome measures) positive linear relationship between treatment length and counselor-assessed outcome. After 20 sessions, however, additional counseling was no longer associated with further increases in the rate of improvement. The "failure zone" reported in some earlier studies was not observed. The implications of these findings for clinical practice are discussed.