Therapists and patients alike hope that treatment will help every psychotherapy patient both to behave and to feel better. We know, though, that even in the most successful, best conducted treatments, progress is not linear but may happen in fits and starts, or involve periods of progress and regression, or may cause some people to feel worse before they feel better. These phenomena may sometimes make it difficult for a person to judge whether genuine progress is occurring. Here are some indications that a person is making progress:
It may be apparent from the above signs of progress, why it is that sometimes a person engaged in a meaningful and useful psychotherapy may feel worse before things improve: approaching those things that have been avoided, while an essential part of recovery, almost inevitably is uncomfortable or frightening or painful in some way. If a person has tended to avoid conflicts, then beginning to address these is likely to raise anxiety and discomfort; if a person has used drugs or alcohol to manage their own emotions, then being sober may leave a person with intense feelings that they may not yet know how to handle well; if a person has had a history or trauma and denied or minimized its impact, beginning to face what happened and the toll it has taken will, of course, be a painful process.
It is perfectly legitimate and in fact useful to ask yourself and your therapist:
“Is this discomfort or pain that I am experiencing consistent with what is expected, considering the work we are engaged in?” This may well help you to put what you are feeling in perspective and also to tolerate it better, if it is part of the process of making progress.
Learn more about our emerging adult Assessment Center.
Yellowbrick collaborates with adolescents and emerging adults, ages 16-30's, their families and participating professionals toward the development and implementation of a strategic “Life Plan.” An integrative, multi-specialty consultation clarifies strengths, limitations, and risks, and defines motivations, goals and choices.
A mental health condition that’s characterized by intense shifts in mood including both manic and depressive episodes.
People living with Major Depressive Disorder, or MDD, experience episodes of depression and sadness that are debilitating to daily life.
Those living with anxiety disorders experience high levels of anxiety and stress that interfere negatively with daily life.
A mental health issue in which a person’s cognitive function is impaired, resulting in symptoms like experiencing challenges with conducting speech, reading and writing, and behavior.
Mental health disorders that negatively affect a person’s behaviors, thought patterns, and function. People diagnosed with these disorders experience challenges with managing relationships and understanding various situations.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition that people can develop as a result of experiencing traumatic situations, characterized by symptoms including flashbacks, avoidance behaviors, and more.
A mental health condition that is characterized by specific symptoms of forgetfulness and lack of concentration, which makes it challenging to complete necessary tasks.
Mental health conditions that interfere with a person’s eating habits, thought patterns, and behaviors in negative ways.
A mental health disorder diagnosable with the DSM-5 that is characterized by both obsessions and compulsive behaviors.