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  • Rotem Stark

HOW TO KNOW IF YOU ARE MAKING PROGRESS IN THERAPY

Updated: Jun 7, 2023



Whether you have already been attending therapy sessions or are new to therapy, it is common and valid to wonder if you are making progress. ‘Success’ in therapy is quite difficult to measure because it is not a linear process. Everyone who attends therapy has different reasons for coming to that conclusion, along with different goals and ways to strive for them. Therefore change is expected but it comes with ‘good’ and ‘bad’ days.


Every so often a session may leave you feeling spent but it should not discourage you as this is what leads to progress and ‘success’. The emotional work you do in therapy that brings forth knowledge of behaviours and thoughts you were previously unaware of is what promotes positive change.


It is imperative to focus on long-term trends when evaluating how much progress you have made. Talk to your therapist and set realistic goals and expectations for yourself. In addition to attending all your therapy sessions, it is encouraged to do what you can to positively influence this process and experience the full benefits of therapy.


Here are some signs to look out for to know if you are making progress in therapy:


  1. You’ve become more self-aware


One of the great benefits of therapy is its ability to make us aware of maladaptive thoughts and behavioural patterns. Therapists help clients develop a deeper intuitive understanding of themselves through learning about their strengths and weaknesses. It also gives you insight into why you tend to have certain reactions or make particular decisions. Although it may feel like a less tangible metric, recognizing some of the ‘blindspots’ generating issues in your life provides you with the opportunity to learn healthy coping skills to break these patterns.


Success, in this case, is contingent upon you having a deepened understanding of yourself and your behaviours. Consider asking yourself what you feel has changed in your life since beginning therapy and how those changes have occurred. This will inform you of how much your self-awareness may have improved.


  1. Your relationships have improved

Whether it is individual or couples therapy, it is common to see improvements in the quality of your relationships. Friends, family, and colleagues are a part of our daily lives therefore it is a good indicator of the progress you are making. This is typically depicted in your interaction with others in different types of relationships. Therapy helps you learn and apply new skills and coping mechanisms when encountering a difficult moment in your relationships.

Therapy can improve your patience and empathy for others which results in fewer conflicts. Being able to understand others’ perspectives and better communicate your feelings also increases your satisfaction in your relationships. You may notice your relationships getting stronger as you continue your journey as well as form new relationships more easily.


  1. You have found the ‘right’ therapist

A strong client-therapist relationship is a key factor that indicates a positive therapeutic outcome. It is important to have a good relationship with your therapist in which you like and feel understood by them. You also need to feel safe whenever in that environment, compelling you to openly talk to them about all your worries and goals with no hesitation.

Consider these questions:

  • Are you connecting with your therapist?

  • Do you feel comfortable revealing personal details to your therapist?

  • Can you be blunt with your therapist?

It is important to give it time as building trust and a connection with your therapist does take a few sessions. If you feel they are not a good fit and are finding stagnation in your sessions, ask for a change in clinician.

Until next time,

Rotem Stark, Mpsy, RP, Stark Wellness Clinic


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