I am feeling worse
It made me feel worse instead of better
Therapy doesn’t work for everyone, and it’s worth acknowledging that this can happen despite significant investments of effort, time and money. This can, naturally, be a source of frustration and disappointment.
There may also be some times when the problems you entered therapy for become worse or more intense, which may be part of the process of working through them. However, therapy isn’t supposed to make you feel worse overall and is certainly not meant to leave you with additional problems. If you notice a prolonged worsening of your emotions or problems, or new emotions and problems arising from your involvement in therapy, or your therapist’s behaviour, you should raise this with your therapist. This is because it may be linked to the therapy process. Whatever the origin of the difficulties, measures can be taken to address them. If it is clear to you that this is an unintended and unhelpful consequence of therapy, or you aren’t able to discuss this with your therapist then please consider the following:
- What am I feeling?
- Worse symptoms or problems I was coming out of therapy with no skills to deal with the emotions that it brought out
- Anger, frustration or other intense negative emotions
- Other areas of my life, such as relationships with others, have got worse
- Self-blame for things going wrong in therapy I was starting to feel like I was at fault for not making this work.
- Guilt and shame
- Increased worry or fears
- Like it’s all been a waste of time, effort and money It cost so much money and I didn’t notice any difference in how I felt.
These possible effects are explored in more detail in ‘Signs of harm – when to say you’re feeling worse’
- What’s happening in therapy that may be making you feel worse?
- Is this something to do with:
- The therapy techniques; e.g. is talking stirring up painful feelings? Is this a usual aspect of therapy? Should my therapist be doing this?
- My own behaviour e.g. am I finding it hard to talk things through in therapy?
- The therapist’s behaviour e.g. is my therapist doing what they want and not listening to me? Is my therapist not involving me in therapy? Guiding Principles for Therapy and ‘I keep doing what the therapist says but I don’t want to’
- My relationship with my therapist e.g. they’re too close, or too distant?
Once you have considered these questions and read the suggested documents, if you still have significant concerns about your therapy please see ‘Who can help me if I have concerns?’ for some specific advice on what you can do next. It may also be useful to have a look a ‘Can I choose another therapist?’