Maintenance is the continuation of therapy over a course of time in order to maintain the progress made in therapy. Maintenance therapy is common to almost all forms of treatment (chemotherapy, occupational therapy, etc…). Maintenance is usually part of the treatment plan for more serious mental health problems, like Bipolar disorder, Recurrent Major Depression, Dysthymia, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Eating Disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, PTSD, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, a single episode of moderate to severe Major Depression, Asperger’s Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Marital problems, Family problems or other more serious issues.
Therapy often starts out as a weekly event, but the need to meet weekly declines as symptoms are alleviated and good health is restored. However, spreading meetings out to 1-2 times per month, every other month, or even once every 3 or six months may help keep symptoms at bay. Maintenance meetings are a time to review the presence and severity of symptoms and reinforce concepts and information that was previously provided. You will have a chance to bring the therapist “up to date,” on life stressors, problem resolution, and ask questions about symptoms or medications.
Maintenance sessions allow your therapist to continue to coordinate care with your doctor or psychiatrist, if necessary. You can continue a therapeutic relationship, so that if things do start to worsen, you have a professional there for you.
For other issuse, like marital or family problems, maintenance sessions can be of significant help. Couples and families can feel a sense of on-going support and accountability by continuing the professional relationship. As things become stable for a longer period of time, the dependency on therapy can be decreased and eventually terminated with more confidence. Another benefit is periodic phone calls for “quick questions,” to clarify or remind you about information, homework, or other previously covered interventions.