How will I know if Therapy is Working?

One of the first things you'll do in therapy is to establish goals for the process.  You'll share problems you'd like to resolve and work with your therapist to determine what it is you'd like to get out of therapy.  Often times just taking the first step - starting therapy - brings a certain amount of relief. This alone is a good indicator that you're making progress and taking the steps needed towards positive change.  Even though goals are typically related to positive changes, therapy can sometimes be a little hard at first because of some of the stuff it can bring up.  Below are some indicators that therapy is starting to work.

  1. You notice that you feel better. Although not guaranteed, this is possible very early on in the therapy process.  This is because we feel good about taking charge of our lives and taking steps towards positive growth and change. We feel relief when we get the help and support we've been needing.
  2. You are making progress towards the goals you have established. Because goals created in therapy are measurable, you'll know therapy is working when you start meeting those goals.
  3. You have a more positive outlook. A big part of therapy involves taking a look at the irrational and negative thinking patterns that hold us back.  You'll know therapy is working when you start to view things in a more balanced and healthy kind of way.

There are many other indicators to progress in therapy that differ from person to person.  They may include: increased confidence, decreased anxiety/depression, higher quality of relationships, better functioning in social situations, improved conflict resolution, and starting to feel like you're no longer "stuck".

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