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4 min read

Do I Need a New Therapist? 9 Reasons Why Therapy May Not Be Working for You

a man frustrated with his therapist

The therapeutic process requires full participation to be effective, and when you feel stuck it can feel frustrating when you're not sure why it stalled. If you've been thinking "my therapist isnt helping", here are some potential issues that you may have run into.

Unrealistic Expectations for Therapy or Your Therapist

Sometimes you may be expecting a quick fix for mental health problems. This is one of several common misconceptions, and when you think you may not be making much progress, it may be that you are setting up the foundations for change. Therapy isn’t always a quick fix, especially when treating a mental health condition, and it’s normal to feel disappointed when you don't seem to feel better right away.

However, therapy isn't only for severe mental health issues, it is a collaborative process in which the therapist leads the client to make changes throughout their entire life to facilitate improved mental health and well-being.

Having unclear expectations about therapy outcomes can lead to frustration and sometimes to quitting before treatment goals are reached. Ask your therapist how long it should take to see results and what treatment method their using to gain insight into what your expectations should be. Greater life satisfaction was never achieved in a day.

Poor Therapist Fit

Therapeutic style is the single best predictor of whether therapy will work is whether you and your therapist are a good fit. A strong therapeutic relationship is necessary to build trust and ensure that you can share with your therapist in an honest and genuine way. If you feel judged or feel awkward, or feel uncomfortable talking with your therapist, then it may be time to find a different therapist. Feeling misunderstood can put a roadblock in the way of therapy progress.

You also want to find a professional that has experience with your specific mental health issues and life experience. Before you get started, you may want to ask about the therapist's training and experience in treating clients with similar concerns.

Ineffective Communication With Your Therapist

Honest and open communication is key, and for some, this may mean learning assertive communication. A good therapist will recognize difficulties in client communication skills, and help facilitate identifying their role in the therapeutic process.

Someone who has experienced an abusive relationship or sexual assault may be working through self-doubt, and have difficulty asserting their thoughts and beliefs. A good therapist must actively listen and understand. Part of being a therapist is understanding the client's inner and outer world.

If you feel that you haven't been making the progress you should, have an honest conversation with your therapist about your feelings. Don't give up--there are still plenty of options for feeling better.

Insufficient Commitment to Therapy

When it comes to therapy, consistency is key to meeting your therapeutic goals. Attending therapy sessions regularly, completing homework or assignments given by your therapist, and following practical advice shared are ways to build new coping mechanisms and move beyond past struggles and trauma. Therapy isn't magic, you must put in the work before you can say therapy isn't working.

Unaddressed Underlying Issues

Mental health conditions are like any other health condition; it may take time to find the right treatment for healing. Unresolved trauma and past experiences may take time to unravel and work through. You may also have to address drug addiction or other underlying issues. Mental illness is like any other health condition, and it can take time to find the right treatment.

If therapy isn't working, ask your therapist about next steps. they may need to change their approach, refer you to a doctor for prescription mood stabilizers to address severe symptoms, or refer you to a new therapist if they feel that a different therapist can offer a more effective approach.

Lack of Support System

For others, slow progress can be due to a lack of a support system. Without support from family or friends, it can take time to build healthy relationships with others that can offer the mental health support you need. A therapist may recommend support groups to help you find connection with others.

Finding the right match takes time, but help is available. If you feel that you don't have support from your therapist, or that you don't have a strong therapeutic relationship, consider seeking a second opinion or switching to another therapist. The therapist's job is to act as a guide, helping clients make good decisions for themselves.

Resistance to Change

Sometimes we can experience a fear of change or uncertainty. This can end up in us struggling to implement changes in daily life, the lifestyle changes that are facilitated by your therapist to improve symptoms. It can be difficult to take responsibility for your own life, but therapists can help clients understand their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, to make more informed decisions.

Inadequate Self-Care

Prioritizing self-care outside of therapy sessions can be important to ensuring that your lifestyle and environment are healthy, and that you build mental resilience to resolve conflicts and manage stress. If you're not taking care of physical or emotional needs like eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and not getting enough sleep, you may be setting yourself up for failure. Therapists may also ask their clients to take time for self-reflection to help them find their own answers.

Misaligned Goals With Your Therapist

Misaligned goals may also be an issue. When your therapist is not aligning therapy goals wit personal values, it may be time to interview multiple therapists and ask questions about their approach and style. Your therapist may also focus on symptoms rather than root causes. Therapy is a process and while addressing symptoms is important, it often needs to go deeper. It may take time to see results with certain treatment options.

Not considering the therapist’s feelings or perspective - many therapists have an ethical duty to “do no harm” and may cross boundaries if they engage in sexual or social relationships with clients. Don't make an attempt to cross these boundaries yourself, and change therapists if they do so.

Finding the Right Therapy for Mental Health in Austin, TX

If you've had a bad experience with talk therapy, or worked with a bad therapist, it can be difficult to schedule that next session. Any therapist worth their salt understands the challenges of therapy and can help bring you back into a therapy treatment plan that makes sense to you, allows you to feel comfortable, and yet facilitates positive change.

At Williamsburg Therapy Group, our team of doctoral-level psychotherapists offers both online and in-person sessions to accommodate a busy life, and allow you to work with a provider that can meet your individual therapy needs.

If you are seeking help for any reason, give us a call today, and our patient coordinator will help you find the right therapist to help you identify any negative feelings you may have had around therapy, and move forward in a way that can make it effective for you.

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