The first question most people as is, "Why should I start therapy, or why anyone would want to in the first place?" and the second question they usually ask is, "How long will I have to go?"
I think these are great questions and I'll try to answer them as thoughtfully as I can.
Why do people start therapy (or counseling, to use another term)?
Sometimes the road you are on is too difficult to navigate on your own. You need someone who can see things from a different, and hopefully, more objective perspective. I think about my clients who are stuck in their marriage and can't seem to find a way to make it more intimate or enjoyable. There are some people who are overcome by grief after the loss of a loved one or even a job or vocation. Many of my clients have struggled with issues associated with trauma such as anxiety, depression or obsessive thoughts. These people come into my office and talk about how to fix what seems to be broken or unmanageable. Over time, they are able to build on the skills they came in with and learn new ones so they are able to deal with stressors on their own. I have seen couples form a new and stronger relationship after infidelity or chronic unhappiness. I have been honored to walk with men and women through the healing of childhood trauma and abuse, often first beginning therapy with doubt that their life can really change. Some folks just come in because they feel as though they are stuck in a depression or anxious state, and they need help getting through it.
How long will I have to go?
That really depends largely on you and what you are dealing with. What I tell my clients is if they work hard between sessions and during the therapy hour, then therapy will not go on and on. What I also tell them is, quite honestly, if they are just relying on one hour a week to make changes, it will not happen. If they put into practice the skills they learn, and are open to exploring why they feel stuck, clients are usually (and pleasantly) surprised that they are not in therapy for as long as they thought.