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How Much is enough?

Focuses on the length of psychotherapy that can help majority of patients. Decline in psychological symptoms.

And the answer is . . . 58 weeks. This according to a team of psychologists who tried estimating how much therapy will, on average, help the majority of patients. Led by University of Evansville psychologist Stephen Mark Kopta, Ph.D., the researchers measured how quickly 64 different psychological symptoms waned as patients underwent weekly therapy sessions.

Some problems cleared up faster than others, of course, and a few—notably psychotic symptoms—showed little improvement even after a year. But overall, about 75 percent of symptoms return to normal within that 58-week period. That's a figure worth keeping in mind, says Kopta, as HMOs and insurance companies develop guidelines for reimbursing or financing therapy.