In this hour we will explore the many reasons why psychotherapy might feel ineffective, leading people to terminate from the process prematurely or to seek out treatment somewhere else. We will look at the “cognitive and emotional” baggage that some clients bring in to the therapy process, which leads to preconceived notions and assumptions about the therapeutic relationship and the value of therapy itself. We will also explore the role that the therapist plays in rendering therapy ineffective, including getting triggered, imposing their own agenda, not having the appropriate skill set or not fully understanding the client’s needs, wishes and feelings. We will discuss the importance of not framing therapy as a “failure” when it doesn’t work out, but rather, listeners will learn to think about these experiences as opportunities to use their voice and proactively advocate to get their needs met.

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3 thoughts on "When Psychotherapy Doesn't Work: Why it Happens and What to do About it"

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  2. Laura says:

    I enjoyed listening to you speak, thank you. In my experience, therapists confuse knowledge with wisdom. They may have extensive knowledge about modalities yet behave extremely unwisely. Recently, a therapist wanted to touch me. They were somatically inclined, Levine, Ogden, etc. I said no, once, and then twice, and when it was suggested a third time, I left therapy. Yes, she knew her trauma therapy well, and could speak eloquently about it, but she was unwise to foist something on me that I did not want to do and had good reasons for not doing. I think therapists need to consider that, for all their knowledge, they may behave unwisely, and that knowledge is not a predictor of wisdom. I think that this is an important point, as the unwise behaviour of a therapist can negatively impact on the client. In the case of trauma, they can retraumatise, which is what happened to me. I think that therapists should identify less as ‘therapists’ or as ‘clinicians’ and more as human beings, with their own shortcomings and personal, emotional and psychological problems which they bring into therapy. That for me is where wisdom begins.

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