As more people recognize the importance of mental health, therapy is becoming increasingly accessible.
While therapy can be hugely beneficial, it’s also a long term, and often expensive, undertaking. If you’ve never tried therapy before, you might be wondering if it can actually benefit you.
Before starting therapy, it’s important to understand some of the common setbacks that can prevent therapy from being a valuable experience.
Does Therapy Work For Everyone?
The world is full of complexity, and there’s nothing more complex than human beings.
As a species, we have such a diversity of situations and attitudes that there will always be some who find therapy of no use.
With that said, for most people, therapy does work. That doesn’t mean it will be a quick and easy solution, but that therapy can help you enact real, positive change in your life.
Why Isn’t Therapy Working For Me?
When people ask “is therapy for everyone,” the hidden question is often: “why isn’t therapy working for me?” There are many variables that can alter the effectiveness of therapy.
You Haven’t Found The Right Therapist
Therapy is intensely personal, and the right therapist is a match of personalities.
Sometimes, you can quickly determine that a therapist won’t suit your needs, but it can take a few sessions before you realize that it just won’t work.
Think of psychotherapy like almost any other form of treatment.
It might have taken time to find a pain medication that works effectively because your body isn’t exactly the same as anyone else. It’s the same with therapists, counselors, coaches, and mentors.
Even the very best won’t be the right interpersonal fit every time.
And sometimes, a therapist that once helped is no longer meeting your needs. It isn’t unusual to change therapists over time, and it isn’t a sign that therapy is failing.
You Haven’t Found The Right Kind Of Therapy
Related to the point above, sometimes it’s not that you haven’t found the right therapist, it’s that you haven’t found the right therapy.
Psychotherapy is a constantly evolving discipline as we discover new treatment methods and approaches that ensure even more people can benefit from therapy.
If you find your current therapist isn’t working, then consider asking for recommendations. There are many types of talk therapy available, with different approaches suited to different people.
You’re Approaching Therapy With The Wrong Attitude
For many people, it’s not that therapy hasn’t worked; it’s that therapy hasn’t had a chance to work… yet.
If you’re expecting therapy to be a quick solution, then you might be left feeling that therapy hasn’t made any difference at all.
It takes time for therapy to provide an effective solution. Yes, this can get frustrating. You might start to feel as though therapy has no effect at all.
And while you might take this opportunity to look for a new therapist, a lack of early results doesn’t mean therapy won’t ever have an effect.
You’re Resisting Change
If you’re seeking therapy, then there are underlying health issues that are causing problems in your life.
If those issues result in over-sensitivity, resistance to criticism, or rigid thinking, they might affect how you perceive the benefits of therapy.
Issues such as anxiety can often lead clients to feel fearful, and unwilling to open up, which can damage the effect of therapy.
This doesn’t mean therapy won’t ever work. It just means in these early weeks and months, change is hard to come by.
You Haven’t Set (Realistic) Goals
It’s difficult to determine if therapy works for everyone, partly because it’s so hard to define what we mean by “works.”
Therapy might be having a positive effect, but if you haven’t set goals, then it can be hard to notice the benefits.
Setting clear, realistic goals can help you recognize the effective therapy is having. As you achieve a goal, you can reflect on your progression.
This also helps you recognize when it’s time to move on from your current therapist.
It’s Getting Harder
When we decide to make a change, early goals often come quickly. Think of going to the gym. If you want to improve your strength, you’ll probably find your progress to bigger weights quickly.
And then the progress stalls, and it might appear to stop altogether. At first, you were adding pounds each week. Now, you’re lucky to gain some ounces in a month.
The same thing can happen with therapy. In the early sessions, you’re hitting goals and targets regularly.
Then, things get complicated. It’s not that therapy has stopped working. In fact, this is often a sign of progress.
But as things get difficult, the easy option is to assume therapy isn’t working for you, and give up.
Instead, it’s important to stick with therapy and put the work in.
Therapy Alone Isn’t Working
Talk therapy is sometimes just one part of a treatment plan, and if the other parts aren’t there, then the therapy won’t work.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the therapy isn’t worth doing. It’s just that it should be used alongside other methods.
Therapy Looks Different For Everyone
It’s normal to feel nervous about therapy, particularly if it’s your first-ever session. To be completely upfront, there’s no guarantee that therapy will work, and there are a considerable number of reasons why.
However, therapy can be and has been beneficial to a range of people. But it’s rarely a quick solution, and the outcome of successful therapy won’t always be precisely what you imagined.
Preconceived notions can impair the effectiveness of therapy. Therapy won’t always be right the first time you try it.
You may need to work with multiple therapists before finding one that meshes your personality and goals.
Therapy isn’t a guaranteed solution, but therapy can help most people to make effective and positive changes in their lives.
It might take time before you see the benefits of therapy, and hard work is to be expected, but therapy can change your life for the better.