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Choosing the Right Therapist and Coping When Therapy Doesn't Work

Starting therapy is a courageous step towards personal growth and healing. While therapy can be a profoundly transformative experience, it's essential to acknowledge that the effectiveness of therapy varies from person to person. In this blog post, we will explore the factors that contribute to a successful therapeutic experience, how to choose the right therapist, and what to do if, despite your efforts, therapy doesn't seem to work for you.

Choosing the Right Therapist:

  1. Clarify Your Goals and Preferences:

  • Before diving into the search for a therapist, take some time to clarify your goals and preferences. Consider the issues you want to address, the therapeutic approach that aligns with your values, and any specific qualities you seek in a therapist (e.g., gender, cultural competence, or specialization).

  1. Research and Credentials:

  • Look for therapists with relevant credentials and experience in the areas you want to address. Research their educational background, certifications, and any additional training they may have undergone. A therapist's expertise should match your needs for the best possible outcome.

  1. Therapeutic Approach:

  • Different therapists employ various therapeutic approaches. Some may use cognitive-behavioral techniques, while others may focus on psychodynamic or humanistic approaches. Research different therapeutic modalities to identify the one that resonates with you, and look for therapists who specialize in that approach.

  1. Read Reviews and Ask for Recommendations:

  • Reading reviews from other clients can provide insights into a therapist's effectiveness and their approach to therapy. Additionally, ask friends, family, or healthcare professionals for recommendations based on their experiences or knowledge of reputable therapists in your area.

  1. Consultation:

  • Many therapists offer a free initial consultation. Take advantage of this opportunity to gauge your comfort level with the therapist, discuss your goals, and ask any questions you may have. A good therapeutic relationship is built on trust and a sense of connection, so pay attention to your instincts during the consultation.

What if Therapy Doesn't Work?

Despite careful consideration and effort, there may be instances where therapy doesn't yield the expected results. It's crucial to approach this situation with curiosity and resilience rather than viewing it as a personal failure. Here are some considerations and steps to take:

  1. Open Communication:

  • If you feel that therapy isn't progressing as expected, communicate openly with your therapist about your concerns. A candid conversation can help both you and your therapist gain insights into potential roadblocks and collaboratively explore alternative approaches.

  1. Reassess Goals and Expectations:

  • Reflect on your initial goals and expectations for therapy. Have they changed over time? Are they realistic and achievable? Sometimes, recalibrating your expectations and revisiting your therapeutic goals can bring clarity to the process.

  1. Explore Different Approaches:

  • Therapeutic approaches are not one-size-fits-all. If a particular approach doesn't resonate with you, discuss with your therapist the possibility of trying a different therapeutic modality. A flexible and adaptable approach can better meet your unique needs.

  1. Consider a Different Therapist:

  • The therapeutic relationship plays a significant role in the success of therapy. If you find that the connection with your current therapist is strained or lacking, it might be worth exploring the possibility of working with a different therapist who better aligns with your needs and communication style.

  1. Seek a Second Opinion:

  • Consult with another mental health professional for a second opinion. They can provide fresh insights into your situation and offer guidance on whether the current therapeutic approach is suitable for you. This can be particularly helpful if you're uncertain about the effectiveness of your current therapy.

  1. Self-Reflection:

  • Take some time for self-reflection. Consider external factors that might be impacting your ability to engage in therapy effectively. Life changes, stressors, or unresolved issues may contribute to challenges in the therapeutic process.

  1. Patience and Persistence:

  • Therapy is a process that unfolds over time, and progress may not always be linear. Patience and persistence are key virtues. Give yourself the time and space needed to explore and understand the complexities of your thoughts and emotions.


Choosing the right therapist is a pivotal step in your therapeutic journey, and it's normal to encounter challenges along the way. By carefully considering your goals, researching therapists, and maintaining open communication, you can increase the likelihood of a positive therapeutic experience. If therapy doesn't seem to work as expected, remember that it's okay to reassess, explore different approaches, and, if necessary, seek guidance from other professionals. Every individual's path to healing is unique, and finding the right therapeutic fit is an ongoing and evolving process. Approach it with resilience, self-compassion, and a commitment to your well-being.

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