Sometimes it takes more than one attempt to work successfully in therapy. If you have tried therapy in the Upper Valley and ended up leaving, here are some things to keep in mind as you consider the possibility of trying again.
First, we should state that entering or leaving a therapeutic setting is not an indication of failure. You’re not failing if you’re heading into therapy and you’re not failing at therapy if you decide to leave. Choosing to enter therapy is an indication that you wish to make a positive change in your life rather than continuing to use the same strategies that may no longer be working. To use an analogy, if you bring in a roofer to work on your house rather than repair your roof yourself, that doesn’t make you an irresponsible homeowner, it means you take care of things that are important to you that aren’t working the way you’d like.
Regardless of the type of talk therapy you’ve tried in the Upper Valley (individual, couples, group), the patient needs to be ready and open to the experience. It’s easy to assume, ‘If I’m in therapy, I’m ready for therapy’, but sometimes there is more to the equation. Perhaps you are required to come to therapy (by a school or a parent). Sometimes people are persuaded to come to therapy. Those situations might create positive change, but they might not.
The line between therapy that works and therapy that doesn’t is being open to therapy. If someone is open, they will be more willing to discuss topics that may be uncomfortable; they may be able to recognize that some behavior is not productive or healthy. If you have a history with therapy that wasn’t satisfying, it’s possible that you (or someone else in your sessions) weren’t ready to participate fully. Being ready for therapy can make a big difference in the outcome of those therapeutic sessions.
A good therapist can help the patient who is uncertain about working in therapy get ready for the more difficult aspects they will be called upon to explore. In a perfect world any Upper Valley therapist could help any patient, but real life is different. Maybe a woman is the right therapist for you, maybe a man is. Perhaps an older therapist makes you more comfortable. Maybe a therapist with lots of experience in a certain area is the right fit. Your preferences and intuition matter. If you didn’t care for a physician or a dentist, you’d find a new one. Perhaps a bad collaborative fit was the reason therapy hasn’t worked in the past.
If you decide to get in touch with us, let us know if you have a preference for who you like to work with.
We began this article with the idea of ‘being ready for therapy’. Timing is important. When it comes to working through challenges sometimes you’re not ready for the work of therapy. For example, if you’re facing the sudden death of a loved one, you might be in shock. Therapy could be a safe place to discuss your sadness or anger about the loss of that person, but if your goal was to work through your grief, it’s not likely to happen in the first weeks after the loss. If you were still in shock a year or two later, that might be a more productive time to work on the deeper issues involved with grieving. .
To be clear: we’re not outlining a concrete timeline for how to grieve, but you can see how the timing of a traumatic event might affect your ability to work through a difficult experience in a therapeutic setting.
If you’re thinking of investigating your Upper Valley therapy options again, we hope these points give you hope as well as something to think about. Therapy can be a life changing process but don’t feel discouraged if it doesn’t work immediately on the first try. You can always revisit therapy with someone new, or at a time that’s better for you.