What to Do When Your Therapy Progress Stalls
You like your therapist, but you feel stagnant in your progress. You would like to continue seeing the same clinician, but you’re not where you want to be. There are steps you can take to get more out of your treatment.
First, take stock of your original reasons for seeking treatment. What were your goals? Ask your therapist for perspective in measuring your progress. If you don’t already have a tool for assessing your progress, explore the options for measuring how far you have come.
While doing this, you may realize you have come farther than you thought. This could be why treatment may seem stagnant. Take this opportunity to discuss the frequency of your sessions. If you are weekly, you may benefit from stepping down to biweekly sessions.
There are many validated tools for measuring all types of therapeutic constructs. These cover all types of reasons for seeking treatment, such as PTSD, Depression, Satisfaction of life and more. If there isn’t a tool that exists, enlist your therapist to assist you in creating your own.
Make sure you are aware of what your clinician has diagnosed you with. You are “allowed” to directly ask what your diagnoses are. If you do not understand a diagnosis, ask questions.
Your therapist will be able to explain in plain language the criteria for anything that they have diagnosed you with. If you disagree with the diagnosis, feel free to explore. You are a partner in your treatment, and challenging the provider is appropriate if you don’t feel the diagnosis best fits.
Next, research what the evidence-based treatments are for those diagnosis. A simple way to begin this is to google “evidence-based treatments” for said diagnosis. The value in knowing your diagnosis is to understand the available treatment options. There may be multiple approaches to addressing the same diagnosis.
One treatment approach may work better for you over another based on factors such as homework required, lifestyle, time constraints or prioritization of your issues. You should be a part of your treatment planning and understand what your plan includes.
Treatment plans can, and often should, change over time. If you read an article, see a documentary or hear about a possible alternative treatment from a friend…ask your therapist about it.
There can be a fear that our therapist will believe you are questioning their competence. “Who am I to give input on my diagnosis and treatment?”. You are the best resource of information with which to apply our education and expertise.
In fact, therapists who are engaged and compassionate, appreciate your effort to take an active role in your treatment. Chances are, if you feel your therapy is stalled, your therapist does too. By taking a fresh look at your treatment, your therapist will likely feel inspired to match your renewed motivation toward change.
Mikah Watford, LPC, LCDC