Can You Return To Therapy?
Like any lifestyle change, therapy can present challenges that seem impossible to achieve and exhausting to tackle. Whilst this is all a mindset, you may find yourself wanting to take a break from therapy. Or perhaps some unexpected changes in your life are forcing you to put your mental health on the backburner. Whatever your reasons, taking a break and returning to therapy at a late date is nothing to be embarrassed about. Your therapist will always understand that sometimes these important journeys need to be put on pause every now and again.
In these situations, you probably have not considered how returning to therapy shows your dedication to bettering yourself – this is what your therapist will acknowledge and focus on.
However, if you’re struggling with the first steps of getting back in touch with your therapist, don’t worry. As a therapist myself, I have put together a guide you can follow on how to reconnect with your therapist. And, if they are anything like me, they will be more than happy to have you back.
Tell your therapist you want to commit to therapy.
Simply getting in touch and booking an appointment might not communicate that you want to get back into a regular course of therapy. Instead, they may think you’re just dropping in for a one-off appointment, so it’s a good idea to be clear and let them know you’re back for good.
Explain why you had to take a break.
Believe it or not, your therapist has most likely been worried about you whilst you’ve been gone – especially if you left without a word of reason. Explaining why you had to take a break will probably result in your therapist asking essential questions that will better your journey and help you achieve your goals.
Talk about your time away.
Did you carry on with any practices your therapist may have recommended? Did you manage to keep your troubles in order? Or maybe your time away only served as a reminder that you’re not quite ready to be completely independent and free of regular therapy sessions. Despite the reason for your return, talking about what you’ve been up to and how you’ve been feeling will further support your progress.
Do you have any new goals you want to work towards?
Perhaps your time away has brought to light other areas you want to improve. Setting out achievable goals is an essential element of therapy and something you should let your therapist know from the start. If you make your aims clear, your therapist will be able to guide you in the right direction.
Be kind to yourself!
Don’t beat yourself up over leaving therapy. It’s a challenging journey to embark upon, and this can only be completed by you. If it requires breaks along the way, that’s ok! There are no right or wrong answers with therapy, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, it is essential to do what’s right for you. However, choosing to get your mental health back on track after a break is arguably more courageous than starting therapy.
As you can see, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to return to therapy, even if it may seem daunting at first. Did you know that one in five clients will drop out of therapy before reaching completion, and those most likely to drop out are clients in their 20s? You should feel proud knowing you are considering making a return rather than adding to these statistics. Prove to yourself and others that you are willing to commit to therapy for the long haul.
Why do people quit therapy?
You may be wondering why it is that people quit therapy, and perhaps you resonate with some of these reasons. However, maybe you’ve left therapy and are still unsure if you even want to return. Here are some of the most common reasons people leave therapy, see if any reflect your same feelings.
1) Therapy isn’t what you thought it would be.
You may be going into therapy expecting something different. It’s not just lying on a sofa and listening to advice; it is so much more than that. Unfortunately, therapy will require a willingness to improve. For some clients, participation in these conversations can put them off and lead them to give up altogether. Equally, clients have been known to quit if the therapy sessions don’t offer the advice they wanted to hear. It can be a difficult pill to swallow, but therapy may touch upon truths and feelings that are difficult to accept.
However, this time around, try and explain these frustrations to your therapist. In doing so, you can work out another strategy and try approaching your sessions from another angle. Tackling your concerns together will improve the effectiveness of your therapy sessions whilst increasing the likelihood of you seeing an improvement.
2) You end up feeling overwhelmed.
Some people may uncover and discover parts of themselves they have been repressing for years. As therapists, we know how overwhelming coming face-to-face with trauma can be. That is why your sessions can be personalised to you, building you up in your own time until you feel ready to face your trauma head-on. Despite these techniques, therapy can still be difficult. But, this is no reason to walk away.
Your best approach is to be open about how you feel discussing these repressed memories. Therapists are expertly trained to be extremely sensitive to all situations; that is why therapy sessions are a safe space for all who need them. If you feel overwhelmed within your session, your honesty is crucial. Speaking out about this will help your therapist to help you. There are always other angles a therapist can take to aid your road to acceptance and recovery.
3) Instead, you want a quick fix.
Sometimes clients are unwilling to put the work in for a full recovery and, instead, have unrealistic expectations regarding therapy sessions. Counselling is best considered a journey. Unfortunately, no therapist can offer you all the answers in one session. Sadly, mental health doesn’t work like that; like any wound, the body needs time to heal without leaving scars. Make sure you give your mind the time it needs to recover; accepting that there are no quick fixes can ironically speed up your recovery time.
If you feel you left your therapy sessions due to any of the reasons above, I highly recommend you take the time to reconsider. This time around, try laying as many of your cards on the table as you can. If you have frustrations about therapy sessions, air these too. No one will ever take away the fact that therapy is tough. But, with regular therapy sessions, you are not alone. Together you can work through your traumas, ensuring each step is right for your unique situation.
If you are interested in returning to therapy, don’t hesitate to get in touch. You have the option to return to your previous therapist, or you can always start a new journey with me. I offer over the phone and in-person appointments to suit your needs. So please head over to my website today to get in touch.