So, you’ve started therapy and now you’re feeling like it’s not working, and you’re not getting the results you want from it. It doesn’t always mean that therapy isn’t for you, and it definitely doesn’t mean that you are untreatable or a hopeless cause.
Here are some troubleshooting tips that have helped many :
- Talk to your therapist – If you feel like you’re getting nowhere and you’re not making any progress, your therapist wants to know about it. With a good therapist who is responsive to your feedback and requests, you’ll be able to reflect on why this might be happening and consider potential solutions and options that can help you reach your goals in therapy. Your therapist can also refer you to a colleague if they feel like someone else’s skillset would be more suitable for your needs.
- Assess your expectations – This doesn’t mean lowering your expectations, just reflecting on them. Sometimes when we start therapy, we can be impatient and expect therapy to change our lives right away. Therapy can be a long process, and it can take a while for you to trust your therapist enough to start working on the heavy stuff. Therapy is not magic, and you’re not failing even if you’re not seeing big changes right away or experiencing breakthroughs every session.
- Reflect on what you’re doing between your sessions – There are countless everyday things that can impact mental health. It’s worth considering whether our lifestyle supports our mental well-being if we’re struggling with making progress. If finding a healthy balance feels difficult (as it often does when we’re struggling), talking about it to your therapist can help. Therapy is also not just about your sessions. To get the most out of therapy, it’s important to practice what you’ve learned in therapy between your sessions.
- Consider other therapeutic approaches and techniques – Sometimes a certain technique or skill just doesn’t work for you, that’s normal. Talk to your therapist if something isn’t working and you can try something else. There are also countless therapeutic approaches or modalities, and different things work for different people. Someone might change their life with cognitive behavioural therapy, but it might benefit more from acceptance and commitment therapy, for example.
- Consider alternatives to traditional talk therapy – Traditional talk therapy focuses on discussing your challenges and working on them through talking. However, there are alternatives. Things like nature therapy, music therapy, art therapy, dance therapy, EMDR, exposure therapy, and even play therapy, just to name a few, can be alternatives to talk therapy. While you usually still have to talk, they’re very different from traditional talk therapy.
- Consider getting a new therapist – Sometimes we can’t get the most out of therapy because we simply don’t click with our therapist. That’s okay. Every therapist isn’t going to be the right fit, and sometimes finding the right therapist can require some trial and error. It’s ways a good idea to talk to your current therapist first to see if the problem is fixable, but there’s no shame in getting a new therapist if you just feel like you can’t build a good therapeutic relationship with your current therapist.
- Consider medication – Taking medication is not “cheating” or “the easy way out”. Sometimes we just need medication, and that’s okay There’s not shame in that. If you feel like therapy alone is not helping and that you need more help, and your mental health treatment providers agree, starting medication can be a helpful step on your mental health journey.
Have you ever felt like therapy isn’t working? What helped you with that? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments. This is a safe space for you. No judgements.