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Signs that therapy is working

Understanding the Journey

Embarking on therapy is a brave step towards self-discovery and healing.

But how do you know if it's working?

From subtle shifts to profound insights, there are signs along the way that indicate progress and transformation.

The Science Behind Therapy

Therapy isn't just about talking—it's about rewiring your brain for resilience and well-being. According to the Mental Health America, therapy works by enhancing neural pathways and promoting healthy communication between neurons.

Over time, this leads to changes in thought patterns, emotional responses, and behavior.

By understanding the science behind therapy, you can appreciate the profound impact it has on your brain and overall mental health.

How to Tell if Therapy is Making a Difference

Wondering if therapy is making a difference? Look out for these signs:

  1. Increased Self-awareness: You find yourself reflecting more on your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, leading to deeper insights into yourself.

  2. Improved Coping Skills: You're better equipped to handle stressors and challenges, using healthy coping mechanisms learned in therapy.

  3. Enhanced Relationships: Your interactions with others become more fulfilling and authentic as you develop healthier communication and boundaries.

  4. Reduced Symptoms: Whether it's anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns, you notice a decrease in symptoms and an overall improvement in your well-being.

  5. Sense of Empowerment: You feel more in control of your life and capable of creating positive change, taking proactive steps towards your goals.

What to Do if You're Unsure

It's normal to have moments of doubt or uncertainty along the therapy journey.

If you're unsure whether therapy is working, consider discussing your concerns with your therapist. They can provide insights, reassurance, and adjustments to your treatment plan if necessary. Remember, healing takes time, and progress isn't always linear. Trust the process and give yourself grace as you navigate your unique path towards healing.

Trusting Your Journey

Ultimately, knowing if therapy is working is a deeply personal experience. Trust your intuition and pay attention to the subtle shifts and tangible improvements in your life.

Whether it's newfound clarity, healthier habits, or a greater sense of peace, each step forward is a testament to your resilience and commitment to growth. Trust in the process, trust in your therapist, and most importantly, trust in yourself.

Your healing journey is worth every moment invested in therapy.

[1] Voss, P. et al. (2017, October 4). Dynamic brains and the changing rules of neuroplasticity: implications for learning and recovery. Frontiers in Psychology.

[2] Gorman, S. & Gorman, J.M. (2018, November 9). Is there a science to psychotherapy? Psychology Today.

[3] Walton, A.G. (2016, May 6). A few things that therapy may do better than medication, according to science. Forbes.

[4] Malhotra, S. & Sahoo, S. (2017). Rebuilding the brain with psychotherapy. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 59(4), 411-419. doi: 10.4103/0019-5545.217299

[5] Levy, R.A. & Ablon, J.S. (2010, February 23). Talk therapy: off the couch and into the lab. Scientific American.

[6] Mason, L. et al. (2017). Brain connectivity changes occurring following cognitive behavioural therapy for psychosis predict long-term recovery. Translational Psychiatry, 7.

[7] Shedler, J. (2010). Getting to know me: What’s behind psychoanalysis. Scientific American.

[8] American Psychological Association. (2020, July 31). Understanding psychotherapy and how it works.

[9] American Psychological Association. (2012). Resolution of psychotherapy effectiveness.

[10] Brownawell, A. & Kelley, K. (2011, October). Psychotherapy is effective and here’s why. Monitor on Psychology, 42(9).

[11] Kline, A.C. et al. (2018). Long-term efficacy of psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clinical Psychology Review, 59, 30-40.

[12] Tebbett-Mock, A.A., et al. (2020). Efficacy of dialectical behavior therapy versus treatment as usual for acute-care inpatient adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 59(1), 149-156.


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