Is there a way to know if therapy is working?

As a therapist, I will constantly check-in with my clients.  Initially, this will include establishing goals for therapy such as reduction in anxiety, overcoming phobia’s, reprocessing traumatic memories, or increasing healthy diet and exercise.  Over time, as I check-in I like to use specific and measurable ways to determine whether goals are being met and identifying what is, and isn’t, working.  Questions like “how many days in the last week/month did your anxiety exceed 5 out of ten” or “please rate your disturbance of the nightmares on a scale of 0-10”.  These strategic questions and check-ins will allow my clients to reflect on their progress and allows me to make any necessary adjustments to treatment or modality.

Above all, the most important element in therapy is the relationship between the client and therapist.  We call this the therapeutic relationship.  Research has shown, repeatedly, that a trusting relationship between the client and therapist is the biggest factor in progress.  You will see this illustrated in the section below.  If the client didn’t trust the therapist, they would have a difficult time considering what the therapist was seeing or doing.

A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, sexuality, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:

·         Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values

·         Developing skills for improving your relationships

·         Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy

·         Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety

·         Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures

·         Improving communications and listening skills

·         Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones

·         Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage

·         Learning effective communication and relationship skills as part of premarital counseling

·         Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence