Therapy

Is My Therapy Going Right?

I got a question via email last week about how to tell when therapy is working. Here it is, along with my answer:

I have been in psychoanalysis to treat emotional abuse for 4 years now, and am still in a really bad place. I exploded in anger and stopped talking to my mother, father, family and friends only writing to them to wish them dead in horrible ways. Then I burst into tears a few times realizing my friends do care and love me. But I am still feeling bad despite having been crying a lot in the past year and having a much better relationship with friends and family. I feel confused and lost. I wonder whether I should change therapists as after 4 years I still feel "like shit" and cannot work properly. Many thanks.

Thanks for your question; I'll do my best to give you an answer based just on the little bit that you've told me. I get that at the moment you feel "like shit" as you've had 4 years of psychoanalysis and still cannot work properly, so you're wondering if your therapy is going right or whether you should change therapists. [caption id="attachment_2859" align="alignright" width="300"]How do you know if therapy is really working? How do you know if therapy is really working?[/caption] The first thing I'd say is it sounds as if you've made a lot of progress over those 4 years: You got in touch with your inner rage when you exploded in anger; then you set a no-contact boundary when you stopped talking to your mother, father and family; then you communicated to them honestly how you felt as best you could; then you released some grief when you burst into tears a few times realizing that your friends do care and love you. You healed more grief about your family too, so you have been crying a lot in the past year. After all of that you have a much better relationship with your friends and family. (more…)

By Graham Stoney, ago