How to identify when you are in counseling that works
If you're going into counseling for the very first time, it can be difficult to know how to gauge the process. How do you know if therapy is going to work for you? And how will you be able to tell if you should switch to a different counselor? Not all therapists are the same -- they use different methods and have different personalities. So, not all counselors will be effective for YOU.
Here are some things to look for when you’re considering if your counseling is going well and will be effective in treating your issues. Signs of effective counseling may be different for each person, but these basic rules are a good place to start.
1. Comfort Level With the Counselor
Research has shown that the level of compfort a client feels with her therapist will have a big impact on how successful the process is. If feel at ease in your counselor’s office, there is a better chance that the counseling will be effective. If, on the other hand, your counselor makes you unfomfortable — you should look for a better fit. You won’t be as likely to open up in front of someone you just don’t feel comfortable with.
Another way to get an idea about if therapy is effective for you is by looking at if the therapist can explain the roadmap of your sessions. Your counselor should be able to lay out the work that you will do, why, and how it will effect your current patterns. You should know why she is asking certain questions, so that you aren’t in the dark about where your sessions are going. If your counselor makes you feel confused and can’t articulate the roadmap, you should ask her to be more clear.
3. Getting to the Root of Issues
In order for counseling to really work, you need to dig deper than your surface emotions. One sign of effective counseling is if your counselor talks about getting to the root of your problems. That means figuring out where feelings like anger or hurt started — once you identify the incident or trauma that is at the root of your emotions, you can begin to really work through it. An effective counselor will want to get to the root of your issue.
4. Hope and Clarity
If counseling is going somewhere, you will start to see hope and clarity. Therapy doesn’t work overnight, so you won’t just wake up one day with all of your issues solve no matter who your counselor is. But, if your sessions are effective you will start to see a light at the end of the tunnel and notice changes in your life.
5. The Therapist “Gets” You
There is a certain feeling you get when someone really understainds you. If you can build a report with your counselor and feel like she/he understands you, chances are the two of you will get farther in making positive changes to your life.
About Jennine Estes, MFT
Think of me as your relationship consultant, I'm your neutral third party that can help you untangle the emotions and help you figure out what's really going on. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA. Certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Supervisor. I write relationship and self growth advice for my column Relationships in the Raw. Creator of #BeingLOVEDIs campaign. MFC#47653