Therapy is an amazing thing for self-development and healing, but when you are new to this healing process, it’s natural to feel uncertain and apprehensive as you navigate this new territory.
With that, one of the most basic questions that will come in your mind when you find a therapist is if their treatment will work for you.
While it’s quite subjective and hard to quantify as there’s no one-fit approach for the patients who have different battles, goals, preferences, experiences, and goals, there are certain metrics that help in determining the progress of improvements.
Signs that therapy is working
- Increased self-awareness. One indicator that tells if your mental health therapy is working for you is increased self-awareness. You may become more receptive to your thoughts, emotions, and behavioral patterns, which can help you gain insights into your experiences and make positive changes.
- Improved coping skills. As therapy progresses, you may notice improvements in coping with stress, challenges, and difficult emotions. You might learn and practice new coping strategies and techniques to navigate life’s ups and downs more effectively.
- Enhanced communication and relationships. Therapy can help improve communication skills, leading to healthier and more fulfilling relationships. You may express your needs and emotions more clearly, listen more attentively, and resolve conflicts constructively.
- Reduced mental health symptoms. One of the primary goals of therapy is to alleviate or manage mental health symptoms. Suppose you begin to experience a decrease in the intensity or frequency of symptoms such as anxiety, depression, or intrusive thoughts. In that case, it’s a positive sign that therapy works for you.
- Increased motivation and engagement in life. Therapy can induce a sense of motivation and engagement in various aspects of your life. You may feel more inspired to pursue your goals, participate in the activities you enjoy, and take steps toward personal growth and fulfillment.
- Improved self-esteem. As therapy progresses, you may notice a boost in self-esteem and self-worth. You may develop a more compassionate and accepting attitude toward yourself, recognising your strengths and achievements while embracing your imperfections.
- Enhanced problem-solving skills. Therapy often equips individuals with effective problem-solving skills. You might find yourself approaching challenges and obstacles with a more strategic and resourceful mindset, leading to better outcomes and greater control over your life.
- Increased overall well-being. Therapy aims to improve your overall well-being. If you notice an overall positive shift in your emotional, psychological, and even physical well-being, it means that the therapy is working for you. You may experience happiness, improved sleep, increased energy levels, and a greater sense of fulfillment in your life.
Strategies to improve therapy’s effectiveness
If you aren’t sure that your treatment is progressing, there are few other markers of improvement that you can use to track your therapy:
- Use psychometric tools. Rating scales and other standardised assessments can help you track the symptoms. These scales come with 0–10 to rate the intent of your symptoms on a daily/weekly basis. Start by targeting one issue or one symptom that you want your therapist to work on and then access your progress.
- Start journaling. Keep a therapy journal and track your progress. Put down your thoughts and feelings in that journal and keep on checking what you had written the previous day. This way, you can monitor how your perspective changes and write short- and long-term goals you want to achieve with your therapist.
- Ask your provider, or get a second opinion. Talk to your therapist to seek their objective feedback on your progress thus far. Alternatively, you might meet with a new therapist or find a psychiatrist and ask them about your progress. Keep track of the feedback and discuss questions about the treatment. Ask your therapist’s plan to achieve them.
- Pay attention to your daily life. If you feel like you can manage emotions, stress, and personal life better than before, that’s the indicator of your progress.
Determining whether your mental health therapy is working for you requires careful reflection and assessment of various factors. It is also essential to align your therapeutic approach with your specific needs. Not all therapies are the same, and what works for someone may not work for you. So, If you feel that your current therapy approach is not resonating with you or addressing your concerns adequately, explore other options and consult with your therapist.
Ellen Diamond, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.
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