Does Therapy Work?

I am a therapist, what do you think I do?  You sought me out, you came to my office, and you stated you wanted to reduce your worries, your sadness, or make changes in your life.  Now you are sitting in front of me talking about all the “bad therapists” you have had in your life and how “therapy has never been helpful”.  In the same conversation when I asked what steps you have taken, what tools you have used you can not tell me or you give me vague answers and skirt around the question.  I say, “I can not solve this for you.”  You look surprised, stunned actually that I am saying this.  But I don’t know what else to say other then you are the only person that can change your problems and work toward your goals.  Yes, I think therapy can be very helpful in working on these problems and barriers however people need to be open and willing to do the work and hear the hard observations to be successful in therapy.

If you are wanting to work toward your goals or change something in you life please seek out a therapist, but also know that you have to the work.  Just showing up each week and “talking” is not going to do this for you.  There must be action involved.  The therapist can and should help you identify the action steps or new tools to use but you alone can actually take the action.

What will help you be successful in therapy?

-Find a therapist that you can talk to and feel comfortable being open and honest with.  (It is ok if this takes a while, not everyone will be your jam, that is ok! Find someone who is.) (Just make sure you are being honest with yourself and not ending a therapy relationship just because it got hard or they called you out on your crap.)

BE open and honest with the therapist.  Share it all, don’t sugar coat it, don’t let shame or fear get in the way just share.  Talk about the hard stuff.

-Actually do what the therapist suggests!  I don’t mean try it twice and chalk it up to another thing that doesn’t work.  I mean actually doing it, over and over again, even when, especially when, it gets hard.  Making it a new habit in your life takes time and consistent effort.

-Attend sessions as recommended.  Consistency is so important in making changes because as humans we are creatures of habit, if we stop making changes we will go right back in to our old ways.

Therapy should be hard work.   Working toward goals, making changes in our behaviors and patterns of thinking is very hard work, it is not easy.  But the thing is, time is going to pass anyways.  Spend your time wisely and do the work, make the progress.  Your future self will thank you.

Love, Ashley

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