Why Isn’t Therapy Helping Me?

There are a few reasons why therapy may not be working the way you anticipated. Your therapist may not be the right fit for you. He or she may not be versed in the kind of treatment you need. Another reason is that the therapist might not have enough experience, or is simply not good at their job. Reasons for poor outcomes may infrequently be true.

The aforementioned reasons for therapy not working, place the onus of success entirely on the therapist. If the therapist finds, for whatever reason, they can’t treat you, it is their ethical responsibility to end therapy with you.

Therapy is a collaborative process, and a relationship that’s established on trust. You come to the therapist for help. The therapist does what’s called an intake, in which they gather pertinent information they need from you. After you’ve discussed what brought you to therapy, you and your therapist set goals for your time together. Using their training and skills, the therapist and you begin your work together. Note the word, together.

When therapy doesn’t seem to be working, you might want to question whether you are resistant to doing the work, both inside and outside the therapist’s office. Your resistance is not necessarily negative. It could show that you do not want to be influenced by the direction the therapist is taking you. In other words, your resistance may be an indication that you are near an issue at which you may be reluctant to look. Your could also be close to a memory that’s too painful to get into with your therapist. If this is the case, remember, therapy is hard work. You and your therapist can discuss how to work with your fear.

In some cases, your behavior and attitudes may be blocking you from achieving your therapeutic goals. Coping skills that may have been adaptive in the past may not be so in the present. Understanding why you adopted certain coping skills can lead to self-compassion and progress with your therapy. You may not think therapy is working, but change takes time, can be hard work, and is possible.

“Change means that what was before wasn’t perfect. People want things to be better.” —Esther Dyson

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