Intensive counseling is quite different from traditional psychotherapy. In the latter, client and therapist meet typically once a week for a 50 or so minute session, and while this may be an effective help for many people, it has some limitations. For one, change in this approach can take a long time, and therapy may lose its continuity or focus after a number of weeks. Indeed, the literature on therapy’s course suggests that much of treatment simply ends with no clarity or purpose, leaving both client and therapist wondering what, if anything, of significant value happened. It’s also often the case that the therapist may be carrying a caseload of 20 to 30 or more other clients each week whose needs and situations all carry equal weight with him or her. While traditional services can be quite effective, and for many clients they are preferable because of their support-over-time nature, for some people the traditional approach is simply not desired for various legitimate reasons.
In contrast, an intensive approach is focused on bringing deep lasting change by spending up to 15 hours or more in the space of a few days in highly purposive, continuous work directed at core issues in the clients’ lives. Because of the commitment of time involved, the therapist’s focus on each client is significantly greater. A level of depth can be reached in that time that might take a traditional approach several months. In addition, clients who choose an intense approach typically bring a level of motivation and readiness to change that may sometimes be lacking in the traditional model. A person or couple willing to set aside a week of time and resources to do some intense work on themselves, and who knows that they are coming to get something done, is more likely to be ready to make things happen. Combine that motivation with a seasoned clinician with the “clinical horsepower” to guide, challenge, and equip them, and some pretty impressive change can occur quite rapidly.
Intensive counseling clients typically meet with Dr. Odell over the course of four and a half days, beginning Monday morning and ending after the Friday morning session. Sessions are scheduled in the morning and again in the afternoon Monday through Thursday. Usually, the morning sessions last 90 minutes and the afternoon sessions last for two hours. Variations in scheduling are made collaboratively with clients on an individual basis to best meet their needs. Individually tailored homework assignments are given at the end of each session. At the end of the week, clients receive written feedback about themselves summarizing what they’ve accomplished, and recommendations specifically designed to assist them in maintaining and extending gains made during their visit, and follow-up plans are discussed.