Whether you’re dealing with an acute mental health issue or trying to maintain good mental health, therapy can be a powerful tool. According to the 2020 NSDUH Annual National Report, nearly 20 percent of Americans have a mental illness. If people didn’t seek therapy, that number would’ve been much higher.
Therapy sessions can help improve your mood, give you the tools and skills to deal with life’s challenges, and teach you how to sustain those changes over time. However, only if you go in with realistic expectations and continue taking therapy regularly will all this come to fruition.
Here are a few reasons why it takes time and patience to get results from therapy.
Requires Time To Fully Work
According to the American Psychological Association, 50 percent of people need around five to ten sessions to feel the benefits of therapy. For some, fewer sessions are needed. For others, they need more than ten.
One of the most common misconceptions about therapy is that it’s a quick fix. While some people do see immediate improvements, others have to be in therapy for years before seeing significant results.
This doesn’t mean that therapy doesn’t work, though. It simply means that the process of healing from mental illness takes time and effort on your part. It’s important to remember that once you begin this journey toward mental health recovery, it will be an ongoing process rather than something you can complete over one or two sessions.
The best way to approach therapy is as a skill-building exercise and an opportunity for self-exploration. Ensure there are no big gaps in treatment between meetings with your doctor or therapist.
Requires A Relationship With Your Therapist
Psychology is the practice of helping people change their behavior patterns and learn how to apply insights. This process is not done overnight. It takes time, patience, and effort on both your part and the therapist’s part.
The number of sessions you should be seeing a therapist depends on what you want to accomplish with therapy. If your goal is simply self-improvement, multiple sessions may be necessary.
During these sessions, your therapist will take extensive notes and try to learn more about you. They keep track of all this through a specially-designed practice management solution for mental health practitioners. The same system also allows practices to keep track of their scheduled appointments as well as their billing information. Such systems make it easier for therapists to not only ensure the efficiency of their practice but also to build a relationship with their clients.
It’s About Understanding Behavior Patterns
One of the most important things to understand about therapy is that it’s not just about telling your therapist how you feel. Therapy is also an opportunity to learn about yourself, which can help improve your mental health by making changes and improving your decision-making skills.
Many people are under the impression that therapy is about expressing feelings and emotions, but in reality, it’s much more than that. It’s a process of self-reflection and understanding where people have a chance to explore their behavior patterns, both good and bad. Therapists will explore those avenues and then explain them back to you so that you can use that information to help yourself later on.
Therapy Can Help You Learn How To Apply Insights
Insights are important, but they don’t mean much unless you apply them. In therapy, a therapist will help you understand what your insights mean and how to apply them in your daily life.
For example, let’s say one thing that comes up in therapy is that you feel disconnected from others and want more connection but don’t know where to start. A good therapist will help figure out how to make friends or join groups where connections are made naturally. Their suggestions and insights can allow you to bring changes in your life that you haven’t been able to do for a long time.
Therapy Is About Making Progress And Learning How To Maintain Progress
A lot of times, the hardest part about therapy is maintaining progress.
If you’re new to therapy, your first session will likely consist of a lot of venting and complaining about your situation. This is normal, but it also means that you need to make an effort to work on yourself outside of your sessions for things to improve.
It can be easy to give up on yourself, especially if you find that many days go by without any real improvement in your situation or mental health. However, even if small improvements are made here and there, they can add up over time into something bigger than expected.
According to a report by Sapien Labs, almost 50 percent of U.S. individuals dealing with clinical mental health problems don’t seek professional help. This needs to change. People need to understand the impact therapy can have on their lives and why they need to attend as many sessions as it takes to get better.