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How can I tell whether therapy is working well?

As you begin psychotherapy, you should establish clear goals with your therapist. Perhaps you want to overcome feelings of hopelessness associated with depression. Or maybe you would like to control a fear that disrupts your daily life. Keep in mind that certain tasks require more time to accomplish than others.

After a few sessions, it’s a good sign if you feel the experience truly is a joint effort and that you and the therapist enjoy a good rapport. On the other hand, you should be open with your therapist if you find yourself feeling “stuck” or lacking direction once you’ve been in psychotherapy awhile.

Patients often feel a wide range of emotions during psychotherapy. When this happens, it can actually be a positive sign indicating that you are starting to explore your thoughts and behaviors. Spend time with your therapist periodically reviewing your progress. Success in reaching your primary goals should be a major factor in deciding when your psychotherapy should end.

Ideally, you will end up with more than one lead. Call and request the opportunity, either on the phone or in person, to ask the therapist some questions. You might want to inquire about his or her license and level of training, approach to psychotherapy, participation in insurance plans, and fees. Such a discussion should help you sort through your options and choose someone with whom you believe you might interact well.

Hawaii Psychological Association
P.O. Box 833
Honolulu, Hawaii 96808

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