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Optimum Age For Therapy

Life is difficult. This is an ancient truth. The question is how do we best deal with life’s difficulties. Certainly one option is to seek therapy when we feel stuck in our own ability to resolve an emotional or relationship problem. In the over thirty years I have been in private practice as a therapist I have noticed a phenomenon that has repeated itself many times. It seems we humans are most ready for the rigors of real therapy when we feel desperate. Yes, desperate. As long as we feel we want to be out of our emotional pain but have limits on what we are willing to do about it then the likelihood of therapy being effective diminishes. “I don’t want to spend the money and time if it takes too long,” is a common limit. Most of us understandably want as close to instant gratification as possible. However, really good therapy may take a while. Perhaps we are more willing to “bite the bullet” in our thirties when we have had enough life experience to realize that we have to work for good things. So typically we tend to be at the optimum age for therapy between the ages of thirty five and fifty five when we feel desperate about something. I want to say very quickly, however, that I have had clients in their teens and in their twenties that have deeply impressed me with their willingness to heal themselves. This is also true for those past fifty five. So any age may be good for you to seek therapy if you say to yourself, “I am willing to do whatever it takes for however long it takes to reach my goal.”

Wendy Hill, M.A. is a therapist in San Diego County. You can learn more by going to her website at

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