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7 Signs Therapy Is Actually Working

By Marquis Matson

The stigma related to mental illness is slowly beginning to fade, as the number of people seeking mental health treatment is on the rise. Nowadays, it’s becoming normal for an individual to make an appointment with a therapist when he or she feels that therapy might help with a certain situation.

According to statistics, approximately 1 in 5 adults in the US experience mental illness in a given year, while 1 in 25 adults in the US experience a serious mental illness in a given year that largely interferes with one or more major life activities.

Therapy is more than just talking about toxic relationships, painful past experiences, negative thinking patterns and self-destructive behaviors. Instead, it’s about going deep into them and figuring out what are you going to do about them. Simply talking about what’s bothering you won’t make the difficulties go away, neither will having someone who’ll listen. However, what will help is talking with a trained professional about solutions and strategies to deal with your problems

You may walk into a therapist’s office and pour out your anxieties week after week, but, as a patient, how can you know when therapy actually seems to be working?

  1. You’ll Look Forward to Your Therapy Appointments.
    Putting in the effort to be on time and not cancel demonstrates the will that you are committed to working out your issues and trying to make a turn for the positive. Revealing your deepest thoughts can be scary, but the moment you stop feeling uncomfortable about opening up is the moment you start to look forward to your appointments. You should have the desire to keep doing it, and find some relief in talking about yourself and receiving feedback.
  2. You’re Having Fun Again.
    Your therapist should help you hang on to the optimism that says that joy is near and that it will return. When a person isn’t doing well, the activities they used to love like dancing, writing, running or playing an instrument stop bringing them joy. If you’re able to experience pleasure from activities that you used to find fun means you’re back on track.
  3. You Are Focusing on the Present.
    You are being mindful of the present moment and taking control, instead of worrying about where you’re going to be in five years from now.This calms us down during times of stress, makes us appreciate the simple moments of life, and ultimately enables us to become happier. Alongside therapy, some apps that can help you practice mindfulness are Insight Timer, Jinglow, and Aura.
  4. Self-care Becomes a Priority.
    All of our lives we’ve been taught to give love to others – to be kind, compassionate, empathetic and gentle. But, when we’re doing all of those things for ourselves, we feel guilty. Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean you’re selfish, it means cultivate feelings of self-worth and strength. Little things like writing down your thoughts or booking a day at the spa can be a great sign of self-improvement. Paying attention to yourself and to your own needs is very important and it can help you nurture as a whole being.
  5. You Will Realize Things Are Changing.
    Feeling like you’re getting more out of life is a positive milestone that treatment is helping you make progress. You may not feel like the happiest person ever, but you should start to experience some bits of optimism and hope, and feel a little bit better. Therapy isn’t magic and the problems you’re having won’t disappear overnight, but it should provide you with a sense of accomplishment, like you’re more ready to address the things that are bothering you.
  6. Moving Towards Meeting Your Goals.
    If you’re going into therapy knowing what you want to get out of it, you should create goals with your therapist collaboratively, with input from both of you. If you’re not sure where to start and don’t have a vision of what your goals are, or your problems seems too large to fix, a discussion with your therapist will make a whole lot of difference. Then each session, evaluate whether you’re moving towards them or not. Clear goal setting is fundamental when it comes to therapy, because to escape a problem you need to make a strategy. Most of the things in life, including getting over a mental health issue, need to be done one step at a time.
  7. Your Friends and Family Are Noticing This.
    When people that you’re close with and people who pay attention to you start noticing that something is different about you, they’re probably seeing an improvement in your mood. Support from friends and family in times of trouble and when facing a difficult situation is crucial, and even a little recognition can go a long way.

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