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Reasons Why You May Not Be Benefiting From Your Mental Health Therapy

Updated on September 5, 2014

When people suffer from a mental disorder or illness, they may seek help from a mental health therapist, such as a counselor or psychologist. If you are receiving counseling sessions and you find that they are not helping you, here might be a few reasons why.

Not Doing Your "Homework"

One reason why professional mental health therapy may not be helping you is that you may not be doing your part of the therapy. A mental health therapist may offer suggestions and advice but if you do not practice or even try to do what they are telling you, you may be stuck in the same spot for a long time.

A woman I know who saw her psychologist on a weekly basis, recently told me that she quit therapy because she did not feel any benefit from the sessions. I asked her if she had tried any of the ideas that her psychologist had suggested, which may also be known as doing your "homework". She replied that she had not done anything he had advised her to do. Without you doing your part, therapy is nothing but talking. While it may be helpful to talk and vent to a therapist, if you want something to change, you have to try to do the things that the therapist thinks may be beneficial for you.

I understand that for some people with severe issues, it is difficult to do what a therapist advises. In these instances, it may be that the person is treatment resistant or has way too much difficulty in overcoming their issues and is not mentally able to push or motivate themselves to do what the therapist suggests. It may not be the therapist or patient at fault, it may be that the severity of the illness is making progress difficult.


Some people may go into therapy expecting that their forty five minute or hour long session with a mental health counselor will solve or cure their problems. In reality, the time that is spent away from the counselor, doing as he/she advises is what is most important in recovery. Take gradual steps, do not overwhelm yourself by doing too much too soon. By just merely listening to the advice of a therapist for an hour, you most likely will not succeed unless you act upon that advice and take steps towards getting better.

Lack Of Familiarity With Your Disorder

Another reason why your mental health therapist may not be helping you is if you are suffering from a mental health condition that they are not very familiar with. There may be some mental health disorders and illnesses that counselors or psychologists do not have a lot of experience in dealing with and they may not be able to provide proper treatment for that particular disorder. If you are suffering from a lesser known mental health issue, it may be best to do a search and find a mental health therapist who specializes in or has experience treating your specific disorder.

Lying To A Therapist

Mental health therapy may not be helpful for those who lie or do not fully disclose their condition to a therapist. I have known people who told me that they have lied to their counselors about their condition. They may make themselves out to be better than they really are, hiding some symptoms due to fear of embarrassment or some other reason. A mental health counselor is there to listen to you, without judgment. In order for a therapist to properly diagnose and treat a person's mental or emotional issues, the counselor must know the details and severity of it.

If you feel that your therapist may not be helping you with your issues, you may want to figure out the reason. The therapist may just actually not be the right one for you, in which case, it would be a good idea to find another therapist. However, there could be other reasons that are hindering you from having successful treatments with your therapist, as mentioned above in this article. Remember, it is your time and most likely your money that is being spent on therapy, so try to do what you can to make it work for you.


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