Taking those first steps to work with a therapist takes a leap of faith. After all, you’re heading into the unknown with a stranger, which can dredge up thoughts and feelings you’ve never dealt with before.

But the results can be transformative, even if it’s hard work getting there. Still, knowing if you’re getting any results can be hard.

Our team at Associates in Behavioral Science knows that effective therapy can take time and trust, especially if you’re new to the process. However, there are ways to monitor your progress from the very beginning to determine if it’s working for you.

If you’re working with a therapist, ask yourself these questions.

Do you have a goal in mind?

It’s no secret that therapy varies significantly from person to person. However, it typically shares a common goal — a direction or “end point.” Like most things in life, goals outlined in therapy can evolve over time, but they provide a starting point so you have a specific outcome you’re working toward. Plus, they can guide your therapy strategy along the way.

During your appointments, you can check in with your therapist about your overall goal to ensure you understand how it applies to your session and program as a whole.

Do you trust your therapist?

It’s not easy sharing the most intimate details of your life with someone. As a result, it’s crucial to work with a therapist you can trust. They should be a person you can talk honestly with, even with things you find shameful or embarrassing.

Consider your therapist a trusted ally who wants to help you solve problems, mood disorders, or any struggles you may grapple with. It should be a nonjudgmental situation where you can express yourself free from worry so that they can provide tools to help you move forward.

Have you learned new skills?

It’s hard to beat instant gratification — who doesn’t want rewards immediately? However, it can take time to incorporate the skills you learn during therapy sessions into everyday life. And, sometimes, you don’t even notice when you do it!

As you think about your therapy program, think about the skills or tools your therapist discusses during each session. For example, have you learned how to cope with stressful situations to avoid panic attacks? Have you figured out ways to prioritize your own needs and set boundaries?

If you notice yourself putting skills from your therapy sessions into action, it often indicates progress in your treatment.

Are you starting to feel better?

One of the most obvious signs a therapy program is working involves how you feel. It likely won’t happen overnight, especially when you have negative patterns, trauma, anxiety, or depression to address. However, you should start seeing an improvement over time — even if difficult emotions or pain come up in the process.

In addition to you starting to feel better, your family and friends could also notice changes in mood or behavior.

Signs your therapy isn’t working

Just like there are numerous ways to tell your therapy is working, several can indicate it isn’t as well, such as:

  • Feeling judged or misunderstood by your provider
  • Finding your therapist untrustworthy
  • Being unwilling to work toward your therapy goals or try your therapist’s suggestions
  • Not feeling like your program is meeting your goals
  • Having sessions with a provider where they focus on themselves
  • Having a poorly trained therapist or someone working outside their scope of practice
  • Not being able to connect with your therapist

If you don’t think things are working with your therapist, don’t hesitate to raise your concerns. Our skilled team can help connect you with the ideal therapist for your unique needs.

Are you looking for a therapist? Contact Associates in Behavioral Science in Berwyn, Illinois, to learn more about our team of psychiatrists, psychologists, nurse practitioners, social workers, and professional clinical counselors today.

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