Is therapy working for you? 10 signs to check progress

Are you taking therapy sessions but unsure if you are making progress or not? Know these 10 signs that therapy is working.
A woman seeking therapy
Going for therapy and interacting with friends can help with heartbreak. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Dr Shivani Misri Sadhoo Published: 9 Aug 2023, 05:00 pm IST
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Therapy can be a transformative journey toward healing and personal growth. It gives individuals the support and guidance they need to navigate life’s challenges and improve their mental well-being. While progress in therapy can be gradual and sometimes challenging to recognize, there are several encouraging signs that can indicate you’re moving in the right direction. Read on to explore signs that therapy is working and how to identify them.

How to know if therapy is actually working?

Remember, determining whether therapy is actually working can be subjective and could vary from person to person. Here are 10 common signs that therapy is working:

1. Clear goals and progress

One of the fundamental goals of therapy is to enhance self-awareness which begins with setting clear and realistic goals. Over the course of therapy, progress should be evident as these goals are addressed and achieved. So, if you find yourself becoming more attuned to your thoughts, emotions and behaviours, it is a clear indication that therapy is having a positive impact.

life goals
Having clean goals can reduce stress. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Emotional regulation

One of the primary goals of therapy is to enhance emotional regulation. A positive sign that therapy is working is the ability to navigate emotional highs and lows without feeling overwhelmed and cope better with stress, anxiety, and other emotions, leading to more balanced emotional well-being.

Also read: Imago Relationship Therapy: A healing therapy to resolve couple conflict

3. Improved relationships

Therapy often helps individuals improve their communication and interpersonal skills, leading to healthier and more fulfilling relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. So, if you observe improvements in your relationships, it’s a testament to the positive impact of therapy on you.

Happy couple
Being too nice in a relationship means your mental health is on track. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

4. Behaviour and thought patterns

Effective therapy should assist in recognizing and modifying negative behaviors and thought patterns. If an individual starts to replace harmful habits with healthier ones, it indicates progress. In fact, a heightened sense of empathy is also a sign that you’re becoming more open-minded and compassionate, which are positive outcomes of therapy.

5. Self-awareness and insight

Gaining self-awareness and insight into one’s thoughts and emotions is a crucial aspect of successful therapy. Recognizing patterns and understanding their origins can lead to personal growth and positive changes.

6. Decreased symptoms

For those seeking therapy to address specific mental health issues, a reduction in symptoms like depression, anxiety, or panic attacks is a strong indication of progress.

improved mental health
Turn your inner energy in a positive direction. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

7. Enhanced coping strategies

Therapy can equip individuals with effective coping strategies to handle life’s challenges, stress, and difficult emotions. Improved problem-solving skills and resilience in real-life situations are positive outcomes of successful therapy.

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8. Increased self-esteem

A boost in self-esteem and self-confidence is often seen as a sign that therapy is having a positive impact on an individual’s life.

9. Better functioning in daily life

Ultimately, therapy aims to empower individuals to take control of their lives. Hence, improved functioning in various life domains, such as work, school, or social activities, demonstrates the effectiveness of therapy in helping individuals achieve their full potential and foster personal growth.

A happy woman at a workplace that values mental health.
Positive results in work are a sign you’re doing fine. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

10. Mutual trust and alliance

A strong therapeutic relationship is built on trust, empathy, and collaboration. Feeling understood and supported by the therapist can significantly contribute to the effectiveness of the treatment.

It is important to remember that therapy progress might not always be linear, and setbacks are a natural part of the process. Additionally, the duration and effectiveness of therapy might vary based on the individual’s unique circumstances and the nature of their challenges.

In short, evaluating the effectiveness of therapy involves looking for positive changes in emotional regulation, behavior patterns, self-awareness, and improved relationships. Eventually, the key to successful therapy lies in finding a qualified and compatible therapist who can create a safe and supportive space for growth and healing.

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About the Author

Dr Shivani Misri Sadhoo, is the Counsellor Psychologist and Child Psychologist. She is also a certified Relationship counsellor with specialised training and experience in the field of marital problems, relationship difficulties, child and adolescent issues, stress and anxiety. ...Read More

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