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3 min read

What to Do When Therapy Isn't Working for You

a therapy room

While talk therapy sessions with a licensed professional therapist can effectively treat mental health issues, help with stress management, and benefit self-growth, they may not work for everyone. The good news is, that for many individuals who wonder, "Why isn't therapy working for me?" there is a firm answer that can then be addressed in a way that may lead to positive change.

Some Reasons Why Therapy May Not Be Working for You

There are several reasons why therapy may not work for a certain individual. Here are a few of the most common challenges.

You may have unclear goals or expectations.

While therapy can be an effective mental health treatment, if you are unsure of what you are looking for in your sessions, you may end up not getting what you need.

You and your therapist are not a good match.

It is incredibly important that clients have a positive therapeutic relationship with their therapist. If sessions are awkward, or if you don't feel comfortable sharing your thoughts and feelings with them, then you won't get the most out of your therapy. In many cases, individuals who are poorly matched to a therapist will also leave therapy early, before proper progress is made.

You don't stick with therapy long enough or properly commit to the process.

According to research, one of the most common reasons why therapy doesn't work is that a person receiving treatment doesn't complete the therapeutic process. Whether they become impatient because they believe therapy isn't working, they don't have a good therapist, or they lack proper rapport with their therapist, they quit before healing is complete.

Your issues may not be suited to the therapy you are doing.

There are several evidence-based therapy options in the mental health field. However, research suggests that certain types of therapy are more effective than others for specific mental health conditions. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy sessions may be just what is needed to manage a mental health issue like anxiety, while EMDR is a more effective treatment option for PTSD. And therapy is a personal thing. What is recommended for a certain mental illness may not work in your case, and you might need to try something different.

You may need a higher level of care.

You have a treatment-resistant issue or personality disorder that needs a specialized type of therapy. In some cases, a severe case of major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, or other mental health conditions may not respond to traditional therapy. In these cases, when therapy isn't working, mental health treatment may require the addition of medication, more sessions, or temporary inpatient care.

You may not be as open and honest with your therapist as possible.

If you have had several sessions with your therapist and you feel as though you can't tell them your honest thoughts and feelings, you won't get too far in traditional therapy.

Sometimes, this is the result of a bad match between patient and therapist: this happens, and is way more common than most think. The good news? You can switch to another therapist whenever you want!

What to Do When Therapy Doesn't Seem to be Working

If you feel that therapy doesn't work for you, don't give up right away. Your well-being is worth giving other therapists or treatment options a shot. Here are some options to try if you feel stuck.

Explore Medication Options

In certain severe cases of anxiety or depression, medication may be required to support therapy. Often, therapy works in conjunction with prescribed medication as well as lifestyle changes. If medicine is recommended, most psychotherapy practitioners are not able to prescribe it, so you may have to work with a psychiatrist or other medical professional to manage the medication.

Try a Different Type of Therapy

If you feel stuck, other forms of therapy may be better for you than others. Ask your therapist if they know of other treatments that may work for you.

Increase the Frequency of Therapy Sessions

Therapy sessions can be hard work, especially at the beginning. Talking about trauma is difficult for most people, and patients need some time to build a therapeutic alliance with their therapist. If immediate support is needed, a good therapist may increase the frequency of sessions at this time, or at any time when they feel more support is needed for making progress (for example, if symptoms become more severe).

Switch to Different Providers

If you don't feel that you have a good rapport with your therapist, then get a new therapist! It's a therapist's job to help you open up and share with them. However, if your current therapist isn't working for you, there are a lot of mental health therapists available. If you live in an area without a lot of options when it comes to therapists, then online therapy can open up a whole new world of choice. A new therapist may have just the tools you need to manage your mental health issues.

You May Need Inpatient Mental Health Care

Certain mental illnesses may have severe symptoms or be resistant to certain therapies. This can include things like severe depression, personality disorders, eating disorders, and substance use disorders. To move in the right direction, a certain period of inpatient care may be required before moving forward with traditional therapy sessions.

If you’re looking for a therapist in the Brooklyn area, try Williamsburg Therapy Group. With over 40 of Brooklyn’s best psychologists on staff, we are sure to have the right match for you.

Book a Therapy Session in Brooklyn Today

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