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What if Therapy Doesn’t Work

Therapy is a powerful tool to improve your mental health, but it’s not magic. It takes time and dedicated effort, not to mention the skill of a counsellor who specialises in the issues for which you have sought help. But what if therapy isn’t working?

Help! Therapy is Not Working. What Should I Do?

If you’ve been in therapy for more than a month and see no progress, or more than three months and the progress has stopped, you may be stagnating. Here’s what to do.

Take Stock of What You’re Talking About

Therapy isn’t just a place to vent about all your problems. For example, if you seek therapy to deal with trouble at work, but you spend half of each session venting about your spouse, you’re not wisely using your time in therapy. Likewise, if you’re more concerned about how your therapist views you than you are about making progress, you might not be sufficiently honest to get to the heart of what’s troubling you.

Take some time to think about the information that is most important in therapy. Then talk to your therapist to craft a plan so that you can remain focused on each session.

Consider What You Do Outside of Therapy

You might only see your therapist once a week, but life happens every moment of every day. To get the most out of therapy, you should be practising and noticing what you’ve learned in each session. If you’re not, the process will be slow and laborious. To get more in between sessions, try:

  • Practising the skills, you have learned in therapy outside of therapy. For example, you might try sharing your feelings with your spouse or taking a deep breath before lashing out at a co-worker.
  • Observing trends in your interactions with others. You might, for instance, notice that you tend to be hostile when you are intimidated.
  • Listening carefully to feedback others give you rather than becoming immediately defensive. You can then share this feedback in therapy.

Talk to Your Therapist

Your therapist is a provider you’re paying to offer you value. If you feel like therapy isn’t offering you what you hoped, it’s time to have a talk. Ask the following:

  • Is there anything I can do to expedite the therapeutic process?
  • What are our therapeutic goals?
  • Can we try a different approach?
  • How will I know when I’m making progress?
  • Why do you think progress is so slow?

Consider a Switch

A good counsellor is invested in your success—not in a permanent paycheck or counselling relationship. If, after several months of therapy and a talk with your therapist, you’re still not making progress, it’s time to try someone else. Some therapists simply aren’t good at managing certain issues. It could also be that you’ve simply found a therapist whose style doesn’t mesh well with your personality. Maybe your therapist’s training is out of date, or your issues are too challenging for him or her.

There are many possibilities here, but one thing is clear: finding the right therapist sometimes takes a few wrong turns. It’s not your fault if therapy is not working, but it’s up to you to make the decision to find a therapist whose style works for you. Three Seas can help. Call us today to be paired with the perfect therapist for your needs!