Therapy is a place you go to grow emotionally. It’s crucial to see a therapist with an open mind. You want to make sure you’re there because you want to change. People don’t come to counseling to make a new friend. A therapist is a person who wants to help you learn emotional coping skills and find ways to better your life.
The relationship you develop with your therapist is precious. It’s different from that of a colleague, friend, or loved one. A good therapist is there to show you that you have the tools within yourself to be happy. Therapy can go on for different periods of time depending on why someone is seeking treatment.
Maybe they’re there to process trauma, or perhaps they’re in treatment to manage their anxiety. The duration of therapy can range from months to years. That being said, how do you know when therapy is over?
We’ve only just begun
When you first visit your therapist, you may know why you’re there. You’ve come to treatment with a concrete goal. For example, “I want to process my parent’s divorce.” That’s a clear emotional goal. Sometimes, the reason you’re in therapy isn’t clear. You might be feeling depressed and not know exactly why.
In that case, the duration of your treatment could take a while. You need to first get comfortable with your therapist and then begin to explore why you’re there and how you can get emotional insight. It’s important to know that your problems won’t be solved in one session. Regardless of the issues, therapy does take some time.
It’s been a month – why don’t I feel better?
After a month, it’s a good time to check in with yourself. How are you feeling? If you’re not experiencing any relief, it’s important to investigate why.
There could be many reasons that you’re not feeling a change. Perhaps the roots of your problems are deep, and it’s painful to get to where you need to go. It could be that you’re not addressing the pressing issues.
Maybe you’re afraid to dig deep and talk about your pain. You’re worried something bad will happen if you explore traumatic experiences, or you’re going to fall apart. It also could be that you and your therapist aren’t a good fit. These are all valid reasons that therapy could be taking a while.
I want to stop therapy. Should I?
If you’re considering ending mental health treatment, it’s crucial to ask yourself, “why?” It could be a legitimately good time to stop seeing your therapist. Maybe you’ve been working with them for months, and you see an improvement in your mood and quality of life.
You notice how confident you feel in your coping skills. These are excellent signs that you may be able to stop treatment, but not without talking to your therapist first! You need to have a conversation with your therapist and talk about whether you both feel it’s best to stop treatment.
Maybe you and your therapist are on the same page. Or, perhaps after talking with them, you decide you’d like to continue on for more sessions. It’s an individual decision as to when therapy needs to end for each person.
Before you stop therapy, you need to start!
When you’re struggling with your mental health, it’s essential to reach out for help. Friends and family are great supports, but they can only help so much. A therapist is a skilled mental health provider who can understand what you’re going through and give you guidance.
Remember, a good therapist doesn’t want you to be in treatment indefinitely. That’s not the goal of therapy. The objective is to get to the point where you can manage your problems on your own. A caring therapist doesn’t want you to be dependent on them. They’re excited to see you thrive after learning good emotional coping strategies in treatment.
If you’re considering how long you want to see a therapist, this is a good article to read for context: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy/how-many-therapy-sessions-do-i-need/. Whether you see an online therapist or on in your local area, therapy is an excellent place to work through challenging life experiences.