Deciding to see a psychologist is a great first step towards overcoming your mental health problems. But it’s important that you find someone who suits your needs and makes you feel comfortable.
So, what do you do if one day you realise that your psych kind of sucks?
While this situation can be frustrating, you shouldn’t give up hope or stop trying to get help. Here’s what you should do when you’re not getting what you want from therapy…
Figuring out if your therapy is effective
You might be wondering how you can tell whether or not your therapy is working for you. Research has shown that effective therapy usually pans out in the following way:
The first one or two sessions can feel shaky. This is normal as you’re getting a feel for your psychologist and the treatment they’re providing.
By the third session, you should feel positive about the relationship you have with your psychologist. This is referred to as the ‘therapeutic alliance’ and it is one of the most important factors in effective therapy. If you’re finding it hard to gel with them at this point, they might not be right for you.
By the sixth session, you should be seeing real progress in your sessions. At this stage, you’ll be moving towards your goals and feeling a noticeable difference.
Research has indicated that therapy does not usually turn a corner and become more effective after the sixth session. If you’re still feeling unsure by this point, talking to your therapist about your concerns or finding a new one is a good idea.
Revisiting your goals and expectations
By this stage, you’ve probably figured out that your therapy isn’t working. A good next step to take is ensuring that you’re on the same page as your psychologist. You can do this by going back over the expectations you set when you first began therapy. By doing this, you can figure out whether you or your psychologist need to be doing something differently. If your goals and expectations are still the same but you don’t feel that they’re being met, it’s a good idea to discuss this with your psychologist. With their help, you might be able to figure out why your therapy hasn’t been going as planned. This will allow you to either approach things differently with your current psychologist, or begin the process of finding another one if need be.
If you haven’t set expectations with your psychologist, it’s never too late to do so. Telling them what you want from your sessions will allow them to better understand how to help you. You can also use your Ok To Talk profile to set and keep track of your mental health goals and let your psychologist know what type of therapy style you’d prefer. If you haven’t made a profile yet, sign up today.
Reassess how you’re feeling
It takes more than showing up to therapy to overcome your mental health problems. Sometimes we unknowingly stop ourselves from making the most of our sessions because we don’t feel ready to get help. If you think this might be the problem, try talking about it with your psychologist. Working through this barrier can help you to open up to the possibility of getting better.
Another thing to think about is whether your expectations are realistic. If you have an underlying belief that your problems will be ‘solved’ after just a few sessions, you will be disappointed. Therapy takes time and ongoing commitment and psychologists can only work with what you give them. Once again, communication is key. So, if you’re wondering whether an expectation of yours is valid, raise it in a session and discuss it together.
Finding a new psychologist
After all is said and done, sometimes your therapist just isn’t right for you. If you’re sure that you need something different from your psych, it’s time to move on. A good psychologist will be aware that it isn’t working and will actively manage moving you on to someone who is a better fit. However, if they haven’t done this, you should begin the process yourself.
Ok To Talk makes this process easy. Our matching service helps to connect you with a psychologist who is right for your needs. If you’ve had a less than helpful experience previously, all you need to do is tell us two things; that you are looking for a new psychologist and why your previous one didn’t work for you.
Once we’ve matched you with someone, we measure the effectiveness of your sessions. Our goal is to ensure you’re always getting the best help for your needs. This gives you peace of mind knowing that you’re on the path to overcoming your mental health problems.