There is Hope!

Why therapy sometimes doesn't work right away and why you should keep going.

Posted Sep 17, 2018

If you have ever been in trauma (or other problem-area focused) therapy but perhaps quit too soon or completed treatment without getting the results you had hoped for and wanted, don’t give up!  

This is especially important as failed treatment attempts can be one of the biggest deterrents to ever getting the emotional and mental relief you are looking for; don’t allow those experiences to shut you off from the possibility of healing.

Those who have had negative or lackluster therapy experiences are less likely to return to therapy; this also means they are likely to be passing up opportunities to experience meaningful change - perhaps at a time when they are finally more ready to experience that change.

There are many reasons why therapy sometimes does not result in the healing you wanted.  The usual suspect comes back to effort.  When a client does not put in the effort required to get as much out of the process as possible, little change is to be expected.  This is why therapists are typically pretty forthright about reminding patients about their role and responsibility in therapy (i.e., showing up for sessions is simply not enough).  Most therapies that produce dramatic results or that are life-changing require between-session practice of skills.

There are other reasons why therapy can be less than rewarding.  This can occur when you are not meeting with the "right" therapist (i.e., you need a specialist), you don't have rapport with your therapist, or when you and your therapist have not identified or focused on the “correct” problem area (the problem that actually needs to be addressed for significant healing to occur).  

Not focusing on the precise problem area that will lead to meaningful change in your life is more likely to happen when a person is not ready; many people enter therapy at times when they are not completely ready to open up, disclose deep thoughts and emotions, and perhaps when they are not ready to actually share their most troubling memories or experiences. When this happens, therapy can be lackluster at best and results can be disappointing.

The trouble with poor therapy results is that sometimes people may walk away thinking that therapy is ineffective and that there is no hope for them. This cannot be farther from the truth. Therapies that are evidence-based and intended for trauma are effective; the reason that your success was not as strong is likely due to other reasons.  The purpose of this blog is to encourage readers to not give up hope and to give therapy a second (or third, fourth, etc.) shot.

Failed treatment attempts can be one of the biggest hindrances to actually obtaining the treatment and help you need. When you are at a place in your life where you are able to embrace and fully engage in treatment, you are likely to see the results that you are looking for.  Therapy works.