Unhealthy underlying factors might be skewing the client’s perception of therapy.
We struggle with mental health issues because we have unhealthy underlying factors – those thoughts, beliefs, actions, situations, and circumstances that motivate unhealthy behavior. These same factors can skew our perception of the interactions we have with others and also our overall view of life.
As such, our unhealthy underlying factors can skew our perception of therapy. For example, over criticalness, impatience, black and white thinking, aggression and anger, unrealistic expectations, unhealthy boundaries, perfectionism, and so on, are examples of unhealthy behavior that can skew our perception of the effectiveness of therapy. If you believe therapy wasn’t helpful, it could be that there are unhealthy underlying factors skewing your perception of therapy.
Here are a few of examples:
A person who is overly sensitive to criticism might perceive the therapist’s recommendations as criticism rather than highlighting areas for growth. Being overly sensitive to criticism might cause the person to quit therapy because of his dislike of criticism.
A person who is a rigid thinker might be resistant to making the appropriate behavioral changes because she doesn’t agree with them.
A person who has issues with unrealistic expectations and impatience might believe therapy isn’t helpful because he thinks he should make much faster progress than he is. So he quits therapy and believes it doesn’t work.
Therapy can therefore be perceived as unhelpful simply due to the underlying factors that the person is struggling with.
- Having fears that pose resistance to therapy.
- Therapy needs to be specific to each person’s struggle.
- Goals haven’t been set that can be measured along the way to success.
- There is a mismatch between the client’s struggle and the therapeutic approach used.
- There is a clash between therapist and client personalities.
- The therapist wasn’t an effective therapist.
- The client is looking for a faster solution.
- The client is looking for an inexpensive solution.
- The client’s recovery expectations are unrealistic.
- Inaccurate preconceived notions about therapy.
- The client believes she should be able to help herself.
- The client believes his therapist is wrong.
- The client believes she knows better than the therapist.
- Resistance is also a common reason why some people believe therapy doesn’t work.
For example, sometimes people hold on to dysfunction because they are used to it and would rather go with what they know than learning something unfamiliar. Another example is that some people find it too risky to let their guard down so they would rather remain safe than vulnerable. Other examples include:
- A depressed state can suggest change is pointless.
- They want to stay unwell to avoid dealing with a deeper issue, such as a relationship problem.
- They have subscribed to the label of “being unwell” or having a “disorder”.
- They believe the cost of being unwell is less than the cost of recovery.
- They believe nothing will be required of them if they remain unwell.
- They fear the obligation of being responsible for the wellbeing of their lives.
- They do not believe it should take a great deal of work to get better, or they are unwilling to do that work.
- And so on. Resistance to becoming healthy can make therapy seem unhelpful.
There are other reasons why therapy can seem unhelpful. The above, however, should give you an idea why many people don’t believe in therapy and what they can do to rectify that.
The above isn’t intended to assign blame but to help clients in coming to terms with common barriers to getting meaningful help.
It is our wish that everyone overcome anxiety disorder and go on to live the best lives they can filled with joy, great relationships, satisfaction, and peace. That’s why we do what we do!