Supportive therapy is about building ongoing rapport between yourself and your therapist. Supportive therapy is non-directive, which means that the therapist will follow your lead when structuring individual sessions.
Supportive therapy isn’t time-limited. That means that how often and for how long you meet with the therapist is something you determine together when assessing your treatment goals and needs.
Supportive therapy is based on establishing a connection with your therapist and thus is generally recommended as a long-term therapy option. On average, adults with depression receive between four to twenty sessions of supportive therapy, either weekly or bi-weekly. However, your unique situation determines the number of sessions and how long you need them.
During a typical session, you will work with your therapist to agree on the goals or tasks you want to achieve. Common tasks that may occur during a supportive therapy session include:
- Relaxation techniques
- Graded exposure
- Visualization and imagery
- Behavior rehearsal
You may also be given homework to do outside of your sessions. The goal of the homework is to allow you to practice and apply what you learn in therapy to your daily life.
During your session, you should feel free to talk about what is going on in your life. This is a safe space where you can vent and reflect on what is happening in your life, where the therapist provides feedback and clarity.
Supportive therapy can be provided by psychiatrists, psychologists, health counselors, and social workers. It can take place in the therapist's office, or it can take place over a telehealth session.