Treatment Takes Time… Staying with the Process
Therapy can take time. It can be difficult to stay with the process. You are committing a lot when you engage in such deep work. You have to take time out of your day. It can be emotionally draining. You can work through intense topics. And yes, it does cost money. So it makes sense when people decide to stop.
I would say that the majority of my clients do know when the time is right for them. They talk about it with their therapist and let me know what they are thinking about. However, there are times where people stop too quickly. I know it. And many times, I get the sense that the client knows it deep down as well.
What is usually taking place in these situations is reactivity. Sometimes, the partner wants the therapy process to be over. Other times, the work just seems to difficult to handle.
Stagnation in therapy.
Therapy tends to begin with a lot of progress in a short period of time. However, this usually smooths out over time, and there isn’t as much obvious progress that is being made. This can make it feel like things aren’t moving along like they should. It’s important to look for small areas of progress. When people want to do deeper, more challenging work, it can take time, and the changes aren’t as noticeable. What I recommend is to talk about this with your therapist. If you have a feeling of stagnation, there may be discrepancy in how your viewing your goals. Simple clarification of what you’re wanting out of the process can make all of the difference.
Difficulties with emotions.
Many people stop therapy when they start to feel difficult emotions. This is especially true when people are working on addictions or trauma. The difficult reality is that some people are working on trauma and they have never called it that.
I know that I certainly try to help people titrate in the emotional experiences that they are having. I don’t want them to experience too much too soon. However, it isn’t always possible to know what is happening on the inside of someone else. So again, you can help by also getting vulnerable and sharing your threshold with your therapist. This can be a tremendous source of growth for you in the process. It’s important to share your boundaries.
Share your feelings.
Many people don’t want to share that they’re not getting as much as they would like to out of therapy. Others don’t want to share that they are done with the process. A good therapist will listen and discuss this with you openly. These therapists will also share their perspectives, without judging you or criticizing your decision. I know that I have had clients who have simply told me that they were done with therapy because they reached the goals that they had.
In the times where I have had concerns, these discussions allowed us to talk about them in a productive way. If my client still wants to end therapy, it gives us another opportunity as well. We can talk about the plan after therapy is done. This gives the therapist an opportunity to discuss possible triggers and considerations with the client after they are done with therapy. It also gives some suggestions on how and when to return if there is a struggle.
When to just stay with it.
Some people come into therapy with a specific set of specific goals that they want to achieve. For many others, therapy often transitions to a more open process, rather than a specific destination. They have someone who they trust to share openly about personal life challenges. They can work on attachment and vulnerability issues they learned when they were growing up. Thus, they accept the ebbs and flows of the process.
I’m not saying that you have to have attachment and vulnerability issues be your goal. Instead, I want you to consider it, while you’re developing your goals of therapy, and thinking about how to proceed through your therapeutic journey. Regardless of how you decide to walk through this journey, the most important thing is to talk with your therapist about this. After all, trust your therapist is one of the most important things to promote growth.