Therapy isn’t working!

So you found a therapist, and you have been seeing him/her, but it isn’t working.  Now what?  This is not uncommon, unfortunately.  Some people see their therapist for months before making any progress.  Others see them for a couple weeks and feel better.  A lot will depend on the diagnosis, the type of treatment, and how motivated you are for change.  But if you are feeling stuck, regroup and work with  your therapist around feeling stuck.

Many people present to a therapist and expect magical results.  They think that the therapist will just be able to tell them what to do and all will be better.  Many a time, I have had people in my office who just want to know what to do, or wanted to drop their children off to be fixed and they will come back later when the child is ready to listen and follow directions.  If only I had the power to do that.  I would be rich, living on an island in the Caribbean, drinking something from a coconut.  OK, back to reality, although I did get lost in that scene for a moment.

Therapy is what you make it.  I have the power to challenge your thoughts and actions, but I will never have the power to change them.  Only you have that power, and only you can change the way you look at your surroundings and your life.  I think that is what so many people forget when they come to treatment.  As a therapist, I can’t follow you around and get you to make the better choices, or to reframe your thoughts when you fall into a bad pattern, but you can.

Therapy is hard work, and scary sometimes.  It brings up sadness, or anger, or fear, all normal emotions but tough to manage at times.  As those things come up, talk with your therapist about them.  Process them so you understand them and where they are coming from.  When you better understand where they are coming from, you can process them and manage them more effectively and feel better.  Your therapist doesn’t have the power to do that for you, but if you picked a “good” one, they can help with the process.

If you struggle with change, the process might be harder for you, but you can change things.  Don’t give up.  Keep climbing and you can reach the top of the mountain, and be better for it!  Some people manage change easily, but for others change is very difficult.  It takes longer, and requires more effort, but it still can be done.   Whether you are trying to manage grief, depression, anxiety, or other issues, it takes work to change you how you function at home, work, or in the community.

When you started therapy, you had high hopes that things would get better and change.  Change is still possible, but it just may take more effort and time than you planned.  Stay with the process, until you make the changes that you need to make.  It will lead to your happy ending.