What To Do When Mental Health Therapy Is Not Working

Mental health therapy can be a valuable tool for individuals dealing with various emotional and psychological challenges. However, there are instances where individuals may find that therapy is not as effective as they had hoped. Knowing what to do when mental health therapy is not working can help individuals get the most out of their therapy sessions.

This article aims to explore potential reasons for therapy not working as expected and suggests alternative approaches to consider in such situations.

Understanding the Importance of Mental Health Therapy

Therapy, often referred to as counseling or psychotherapy, is a process of addressing and managing emotional and mental health issues. It provides a safe and confidential space for individuals to discuss their thoughts, feelings, and concerns with a trained professional known as a therapist.

Through therapy, individuals can gain insight into their emotions, behaviors, and thought patterns, leading to better-coping mechanisms and improved overall well-being. Therapy can be instrumental in treating conditions such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more. If you’re looking for a trusted anxiety therapy Toronto, just give Cedarway Therapy a call today!

Common Reasons Why Therapy May Not Be Effective

Misalignment of Goals and Expectations

One common reason why therapy may not yield the desired results is a misalignment of goals and expectations between the individual and the therapist. It is crucial for individuals to clearly communicate what they hope to achieve through therapy and ensure that their therapist understands these objectives.

Lack of Connection with the Therapist

A strong therapeutic alliance is vital for successful therapy. If you find that you do not feel a connection or sense of trust with your therapist, it may hinder the progress of therapy.

Unaddressed Underlying Issues

Sometimes, therapy may focus on addressing specific symptoms, but the underlying root causes of the issues may go unexplored. This can lead to incomplete or ineffective treatment.

Non-Compliance with Treatment Plans

Therapy often involves assignments and exercises to be completed outside of sessions. If an individual does not actively engage in these tasks, it can impede progress.

Reevaluate Your Goals and Expectations

It is essential to reevaluate and set realistic goals for therapy to make it more effective. Consider the following steps:

Set Realistic Goals

Be clear about what you want to achieve through therapy, whether it’s reducing anxiety, improving relationships, or gaining coping skills. Setting realistic goals can help you track your progress more effectively.

Discuss Expectations with Your Therapist

Openly communicate your expectations with your therapist and ensure that they align with what therapy can realistically offer. This ensures that both you and your therapist are on the same page.

Openly Communicate with Your Therapist

Effective communication with your therapist is paramount. If you feel that certain aspects of therapy are not working or if you are experiencing discomfort, discuss these concerns with your therapist openly.

Consider Trying Different Therapy Approaches

Various therapy approaches cater to different needs. Some common options include:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors to promote healthier emotional responses.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

DBT is effective for individuals dealing with intense emotions and self-destructive behaviors.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is particularly helpful for those experiencing trauma-related disorders.

Explore Medication Options

In some cases, therapy alone may not be sufficient. Consulting a psychiatrist or medical professional about medication options can complement therapy and improve outcomes.

Seek a Second Opinion

If you feel stuck or uncertain about your current therapy, seeking a second opinion from another therapist can provide fresh insights and perspectives.

Involve Your Support System

Lean on your support system, such as family and friends, for encouragement and understanding during challenging times.

Engage in Self-Help Techniques

In addition to therapy, self-help techniques can be beneficial. Consider incorporating the following practices into your daily routine:

Meditation and Mindfulness Practices

These practices can help reduce stress and promote emotional balance.

Physical Exercise

Exercise is known to release endorphins, which can improve mood and overall well-being.

Journaling and Expressive Writing

Writing about your thoughts and feelings can provide clarity and help you process emotions.

Address Underlying Issues

If you suspect that unresolved past traumas or other underlying issues are hindering your progress, consider addressing these concerns directly in therapy.

Avoid Prematurely Ending Therapy

Therapy is a process that takes time. Avoid prematurely ending therapy without giving it a fair chance to work.

Give It Time and Be Patient

Effective therapy often requires consistency and patience. Allow yourself time to experience progress.

Consider Support Groups or Group Therapy

Joining a support group or participating in group therapy can provide a sense of belonging and understanding.

When to Seek Emergency Help

If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide, do not hesitate to seek emergency help immediately.


Mental health therapy is a valuable resource that can help individuals navigate life’s challenges and improve their emotional well-being. However, it is essential to remember that therapy is not a one-size-fits-all solution. If you find that therapy is not working as expected, don’t lose hope. Reevaluate your goals, communicate openly with your therapist, and consider trying different approaches to find the support that best suits your needs.

If you’re someone who values their mental health, give Cedarway Therapy a call now! We share a commitment to helping individuals achieve their highest potential and live satisfying lives. We are here to provide exceptional care that is tailored to meet the unique needs of each individual. Contact us today for an appointment with one of our knowledgeable professionals.

With Cedarway’s help, you can gain greater insight into yourself and your experiences, develop more effective strategies to cope with life’s challenges and create a more fulfilling life. Come find out how we can help you reach your goals!

FAQs: What To Do When Mental Health Therapy Is Not Working

How long does it usually take for therapy to work?

The duration of therapy varies depending on individual circumstances. Some individuals may experience significant progress in a few months, while others may require longer periods to see substantial changes.

Can I switch therapists in the middle of treatment?

Yes, you have the right to switch therapists if you believe a different approach or a new therapeutic alliance would be more beneficial for your progress.

Should I consider medication if therapy is not effective?

If therapy alone does not yield the desired results, consulting a psychiatrist or medical professional about medication options can be a viable consideration.

What if I don’t feel comfortable discussing certain topics with my therapist?

Trust and openness are essential in therapy. If you find it challenging to discuss certain topics, consider communicating this discomfort with your therapist to find alternative ways of addressing the issues.

Is it normal to feel worse before feeling better during therapy?

Yes, it is not uncommon for individuals to experience temporary setbacks or emotional discomfort as they work through challenging issues during therapy. This is often a natural part of the therapeutic process.