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Posted By Gloria Vanderhorst on 01/25/2018


You and your therapist have been working well together for about 3 to 4 months and you have a good connection that feels safe.  You have been able to disclose to your therapist in a way that has helped you to identify the roadblocks that have been holding you back or creating emotional difficulty for you.  The therapy doesn’t feel finished to you but lately the sessions have seemed rather bumpy. 

Sometimes you are covering old ground again, sometimes it seems you are just chatting and other times something is nagging at you but you can’t quite figure it out.  What do you do?  You like your therapist and she has been really helpful.  You think maybe this is just a part of the process and this phase won’t last long; however, each time you get ready to come to an appointment, you are slow to leave work or find ways to be just a little rushed or late at the end.  You are reluctant to bring up your concerns or feelings of discontent.  Your therapist has been really helpful and you do not want to do anything that could undermine the relationship or create awkwardness between you.  What do you do?

Put the following phrases on separate pieces of paper and put them in a jar.

  •  Therapy doesn’t seem as effective for me lately.
  • I feel awkward about saying this but our work seems to be stalled in some way.
  • I don’t think I’m done with therapy but I don’t feel like I am moving forward either.
  • I haven’t been as engaged lately and I wonder if you are sensing the same thing.
  • I feel stuck lately and therapy doesn’t seem to be moving me forward.
  • Something is not working well with us lately.  What do you think is happening?
  • I’m not as interested in coming lately but I don’t think I want to stop either.
  • I’ve made real progress in therapy but recently seem stalled and am not sure of the goals.
  • Therapy certainly has given me some relief but I’m not completely satisfied with the work right now.
  • I’m struggling to figure out what we are working on now.

Pull one of these out of the jar and take it to therapy with you.  If you can’t say it then hand it to your therapist to get the conversation going.

Stuck points are a normal part of therapy but your therapist may not always know what you are experiencing.  The alliance between therapist and client can rupture slowly or quickly and when you feel it first, take the risk of speaking up.  Therapy is a cooperative process and your therapist needs your honest feedback to do a good job for you. 

Some therapists ask for feedback following each session to track how effective they are being in helping you.  If your therapist does this through a quick paper and pencil survey or verbally, then you are ahead.  If your therapist does not do this then take this step yourself and treatment will be more productive and your therapist will thank  you, too.

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