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I’ve Tried Therapy and it Doesn’t Work

So you’ve been to therapy and it feels like it is not helpful! Finding the right therapist can take time. Just like going to a doctor, therapist all have specialties. When searching for a doctor, you look for those that will meet your needs. They may have a specialty or a background that aligns with things you value. The same is true when finding a therapist. Therapists have specific modalities or styles based on their experience or training. It is important to find a therapist that aligns with your values and specializes in areas of interest; such as, addiction, marital, depression, trauma, or parenting. 

When looking for a therapist it is important to do your research. A therapist may put on their profile “Couples Therapist”, “EMDR Certified”, or “Children Specialist” when they may not have in depth training or experience in those. It is not inappropriate or unprofessional to see if the therapist offers a face-to-face or over the phone consult so you can gain some insight to their experience and specialty. 

Even more important than finding a therapist that specializes in your area of interest and need is finding a therapist with a good fit for you and your personality. This is known as the “therapeutic relationship” or “client-therapist fit”. Short version of the fancy term is that you need to be able to relate or connect with your therapist. This relationship is one of the primary factors that promotes change in therapy alongside with the therapist specialty. If you feel understood by your therapist then it is easier to build a relationship of trust which helps promote change. 

The search for the right therapist can take some time, but it is well worth the effort! Sometimes asking friends or family for referrals can help you narrow your search. When you find a therapist give it three to five sessions prior to determining whether the fit is right. If you feel like you cannot relate by then see if they can help you find a better fit as they may have some other referrals that can meet your needs.

Lastly, you can wait too long to go to therapy! Just as you would not put off going to the doctor for a medical emergency you should not put off prioritizing your relationship or mental health. 

If you wait too long, especially in a marriage, therapy change can take quite some time. Marriage therapists are not miracle workers and cannot fix things immediately. Therapy is not a quick fix for patterns that have taken months or years to develop.  Therapy is a wonderful way to improve your relationships, understand yourself, or improve your mental well-being, especially when you find a therapist who is a good fit. If you have tried therapy in the past and felt like it has not worked, reconsider trying therapy again. Keeping in mind that it can sometimes take time to find the right therapist for you. Wasatch Family Therapy has a dedicated and experienced team to help find the right fit for you.

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Ask A Therapist: Is My Fear And Worry Normal?

Q: Okay, I consistently have worry.  I try to make it go away by obsessing over my smallest worries.  Because “Murphy’s Law” somehow dictates to me that doing that would mean that whatever horror I think would happen, won’t.  Its started consuming me to a point where I flip out all the time.  Its affecting my work and my home life.  I want to stop but it’s like I am going down a waterslide, I can’t just stop.  I have no one who understands.  They keep telling me that I just need to stop worrying but its not that easy!  I honestly don’t know what to do.  I know its not “normal” but is it really that weird?  I just really need some advice on what to do.

A: Thank you for your excellent question. The short answer is “no.” It sounds to me like you are suffering from an anxiety disorder, which is something you just can’t “stop” or will away, no matter how hard you try. Since work and relationships are being negatively affected, I suggest that you get a mental health evaluation from a licensed mental health professional very soon. If you need help finding a therapist one in your area click here.

Since you haven’t given specific symptoms, it’s difficult for me to guess which anxiety disorder you’re most likely suffering from.  In addition to an evaluation and therapy, consider learning more about mindfulness practices to help you calm your thoughts. Since many people in your life don’t understand what you’re going through, seek people who do understand.  A local support group, group therapy, or online support groups like Psych Central Forums gives you access to people who know what it’s like to struggle with excessive worry.

Take good care of yourself!

Julie Hanks, LCSW

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