I believe that two of the most important factors in successful therapy are the “fit” between you and your therapist and that you have the right expectations of therapy. If you view me as a warm, open-minded, competent, trustworthy individual, who has your best interests at heart, chances are that you are already off to a good start in therapy. Finding a therapist with whom you feel comfortable and respect can take time. Not everyone “clicks” with the same people; this is true for friends and it is true for therapists and clients as well.
The more clearly you understand how therapy works and what you can expect from it, the more likely you are to have a successful therapy experience. When you first start therapy, you may find yourself experiencing a “honeymoon” period, where everything seems to be going well and you feel very comfortable and eager to go to your appointments. Usually, this period will come to an end at some point. You may start feeling like nothing is really getting better after all. You may become disenchanted with me, drag your feet to sessions, cancel appointments more frequently, or keep secrets from me.
Often these are signs that your problems have begun to show up in your therapy sessions. This is actually a good thing since these problems are the reason you sought therapy in the first place. As uncomfortable or painful as it may be to communicate negative feelings to me, or even to attend regular therapy appointments, try your best to do so. The more honest you are about your feelings at this stage of therapy and the more willing you are to face them, the better the chance that we will be able to get to the root of your concerns and work toward their resolution.
One person’s measure of successful therapy may differ from another person’s. As a general rule, as long as you sense that you are getting something from your therapy, you can be fairly certain that you are on the right track.