Many people who struggle with mental health issues may seek professional support and treatment. For some, seeing a professional is the last resort, and when therapy doesn’t work or have the outcome patients yearn to see, it can truly be disheartening and demoralizing. If you’re currently struggling to achieve results, here’s what to do when your therapist doesn’t seem to be helping:
Determine What Steps You Will Take in Moving Forward
If you don’t believe your therapy is working, you should communicate your feelings to your therapist. Ask your therapist how long you should expect before you begin to notice results, or if you’re doubtful of a particular treatment method, ask if you can attempt a different approach.
Begin Working With Your Therapist
While therapists offer professional support and treatment, you should also become proactive in your treatment. Ask your therapist to recommend homework assignments if you haven’t been given any already. Talk more openly about your concerns with treatment, and see if you two can work toward a mutual plan for progress.
Try a New Therapist
If your therapist isn’t someone who accepts your values, actively works to understand your emotions, and doesn’t make you feel accepted, heard, or valid, you might need to seek a new therapist. If your therapist is someone who already validates your feelings and works toward understanding, but your therapy isn’t yielding the results you desire or you and your therapist anticipated, your therapist might not be right for you. While you might like your therapist, different therapists have varying competencies. It might be time to move on to a different therapist who will explore different treatment and medication options, approach therapy differently, and provide specific recommendations for activities or homework to help you cope with your mental health issues outside of the therapist’s office.
Talk to Your Doctor
For many mental health conditions, research suggests that therapy combined with medication is often the most effective way to achieve results. If your therapy isn’t working, you might consider discussing medication options with your doctor. Doctors can also assess your physical health problems, which may be compounding your mental health. For example, sluggishness that often mimics symptoms of depression can actually be a symptom of hypothyroidism.
While it can be frustrating when therapy doesn’t seem to be working, a lack of results does not mean the end of progress. It’s important to not dismiss yourself. Continue trying, proceed to research your condition, and reach out other professionals who can aid you in your journey. Most importantly, remain an advocate for yourself and continue to seek the treatment that will work for you.
Herrick Lipton is the CEO of New Horizon Counseling Center in New York and is also an advocate for mental health. For more information about Herrick or to get in touch with New Horizon Counseling Center for resources, please visit nhcc.us or call 718-845-2620.