People frequently ask if the therapy they attend to is being effective in the first place. The issue with therapy is that it is not like taking medication, where you take a drug that targets your symptoms and hope that they will go away after some time. Taking the time to find and address the source of the issue is more important in therapy.
It may not always be clear what the therapy is aiming for or how it is doing so. For many people, therapy evokes a strong sense of the unknown, and putting one’s trust in what seems vague and a non-linear process, can be challenging. This is especially true if you are pressed for time and need a quick solution. If therapy is not working, your therapist should be the first person you contact about it. They may decide to adjust the treatment plan, explore other choices, or recommend another therapist. Below we will see some points to consider and why therapy may not be working for you.
Nothing that your therapist can say will magically rearrange things in your brain and make your life better right away. Therapy takes work. Learning how to better manage your emotions and life can be difficult if you do not do your therapy homework. Just as you only learn to solve math problems by doing your math homework. Following your therapist’s lessons can support you to learn new coping methods and move beyond previous challenges. Homework does not have to be detailed or require the use of paper. It may simply be reflecting with an open mind your discussions and processes with your therapist.
Therapy is only one phase in your therapeutic process, not the entire process. One of the most important advantages of therapy is that it can provide you with the confidence and courage you need to assume lifestyle changes. A qualified therapist can also suggest certain lifestyle adjustments that may help you improve your prospects. Remember, every person is unique, and each mental health condition necessitates a somewhat different approach.
The most important factor in determining whether treatment will succeed or not, is whether you and your therapist are a good match. Therapy requires a therapist who supports your values, understands your feelings, and makes you feel heard and accepted. If your therapist is not providing this, it may be time to find someone who does. Nonetheless, being a good match with your therapist is not enough, as it also depends on your needs at that point in time and the therapist’s skill and specialty. Consider whether your therapist is the best fit for you if therapy is not working.
There are various reasons why clients progress or not in therapy. Clients must be willing to put in the effort, set reasonable objectives, commit to therapy, and disclose any therapeutic concerns that arise during treatment. When therapy does not work, it can be discouraging, but this is only the beginning of the journey. If you are willing to work on your issues, be a strong advocate for yourself, and not giving up, you will soon find something that works.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Charlot Cauchi is a Gestalt Psychotherapist at Willingness. He has experience with adult clients with mental health difficulties, anxiety, depression, loss, trauma, stress and relational issues.
Howard, K. I., Moras, K., Brill, P. L., Martinovich, Z., & Lutz, W. (1996). Evaluation of psychotherapy: Efficacy, effectiveness, and patient progress. American Psychologist, 51(10), 1059–1064.