Therapy can be life changing, but seeing change from therapy isn’t something that happens overnight. It’s a journey that takes time, and may even include some setbacks along the way. If you’re in therapy, you may be wondering how you’ll know it’s benefiting you. Are there signs to look for to know therapy is helping? Will you feel a certain way? Will your therapist tell you you’re making progress?
These are all valid questions. The answers, however, will depend on your unique situation and circumstances. Everyone’s experience with therapy is different, and how you make progress will be unique to you. That being said, there are ways to tell if you’re headed in the right direction in therapy, including asking yourself some questions to help you measure the progress you’re making.
Learn more about how asking yourself the following questions can help you track your therapy progress, and how SonderMind therapists, tools such as clinical questionnaires, and other helpful resources can support you along the way.
6 questions to ask yourself to measure your therapy progress
1. Am I still struggling with the same issues that brought me to therapy in the first place?
Whether anxiety, depression, or another mental health concern brought you to therapy, it’s important to regularly ask yourself if you’re still experiencing the same symptoms, feelings, and behaviors. Your answer to this question can help you see how far you’ve come from where you started on your therapy journey. If your answer is “no” or “not as much,” then you know you’re making progress. On the other hand, if your answer is “yes,” then it’s important to talk to your therapist about how you’re feeling. They can work with you to identify any repetitive patterns of behavior that may be keeping you from making changes and improving how you feel. They may also adjust your treatment plan as needed to help you make progress toward your goals.
2. Have I noticed any changes in my behavior or thoughts?
It’s typical to talk about your behaviors and thoughts in therapy, but have you taken the time to pay attention to the way you’re thinking and acting outside of therapy sessions to see if you notice any changes?
For example, let’s say an issue that brought you to therapy involved having worried thoughts and a racing heart every time you left your dog at home alone, and you felt the need to check your dog monitor every few minutes. Ask yourself — am I still feeling these symptoms, and how am I acting on them now? Perhaps the worry and checking behavior are gone altogether. Or maybe you still worry sometimes but not every time you leave your dog alone. Or maybe the racing heart has gone away, and you only check the doggy cam once every few hours. These are all signs that therapy is helping you make positive changes to your thoughts and behaviors to help you get closer to achieving your goals.
3. Have I noticed any changes in my physical health?
Your mental and physical health are strongly connected. In fact, emotional distress can cause physical symptoms. These are called somatic symptoms. When difficult and stressful emotions are unmanaged, somatic symptoms can become more frequent and severe, and can cause body pains, stomach aches, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, memory problems, weakness, trouble breathing, and more.
If you were experiencing somatic symptoms due to a mental health concern when you began therapy, ask yourself if you’ve noticed any improvement in these symptoms — whether it be improved sleep, more energy, less headaches, or other signs your body is feeling better. If so, then it may be a good indication that you’re making progress in therapy.
4. How am I feeling about my therapist and the therapeutic process?
Your relationship with your therapist is key to seeing success in therapy, so it’s important to check in on how you’re feeling about them and their approach to therapy. Positive feelings about therapy and your therapist may indicate that you're making progress, so ask yourself if you feel comfortable with your therapist, if they’re helping you, and if you feel they understand you. If your answer is “yes” to all of these questions, then your therapist is likely a good fit for you and will help you stay on track toward reaching your therapy goals. To continue to build a strong relationship with your therapist, check out these tips.
What if you’re not feeling so great about your relationship with your therapist? Perhaps you’re seeing some red flags or just don’t feel they’re the right fit for you for one reason or another. If this is the case, it’s always okay to stop seeing your therapist and look for a different therapist.
Making progress in therapy starts with having a strong therapeutic alliance, or relationship, with your therapist, so it’s important to connect with someone who’s right for you. If you think it may be helpful to find a new therapist, SonderMind can help connect you to a licensed professional who’s a better fit based on your needs and preferences.
5. How have my relationships changed since starting therapy?
Therapy can impact not only your relationship with yourself but also your relationships with others. Ask yourself if you've noticed any improvements within your relationships with your family, significant other, friends, or coworkers. Even if your relationships aren’t what drove you to seek therapy, seeing positive improvements in your interactions with others can be a sign that you’ve made improvements to your mental well-being.
Identifying toxic or abusive relationships and taking steps to recover from them can also indicate that you’re making strides in therapy. If you feel safer, are better able to process your feelings, feel more confident, and are ultimately able to leave a toxic or abusive relationship, then you know therapy has helped you make positive changes in your life.
Therapy can also help you build the skills you need to have healthy relationships in the future, so even if you’ve made great progress with your current relationships, work with your therapist to learn how to set healthy boundaries and communicate your needs in future relationships to help you continue on the right path toward your goals.
6. What goals have I accomplished in therapy, and what am I still working towards?
At the start of therapy, you likely worked with your therapist to set goals for what you wanted to achieve throughout your journey. You may have established one ultimate goal, and then a few small goals to help you achieve your main goal. Or maybe you just have a handful of small goals you want to accomplish. It doesn’t matter how big or small your goals are, or how many you have. What matters is that you’re working towards something throughout therapy that will help improve your mental and overall well-being.
It’s important to regularly review your therapy goals with your therapist to keep track of what you’ve achieved and what you need to continue working on. This will help you see the progress you’ve made and the progress you still need to make.
It’s important to note that sometimes a goal is achieved, but then needs to be achieved again. This can happen when you experience setbacks in therapy — the issue you worked through starts to come back again, and you feel like you've lost the progress that you've made. Know that setbacks are a completely normal part of therapy, and that it’s okay to reset goals for yourself and even create new ones based on how you’re feeling. Your therapist will work with you to establish goals throughout therapy, and can also adjust your treatment plan as needed if you both feel it could help your progress.
Use journaling to help you track therapy progress
Consider writing down your answers to these questions in a journal and sharing them with your therapist. This can help them better understand how you’re doing and provide you with the best support throughout therapy. Beyond helping you see your progress, journaling can play a big role in helping you reach your therapy goals, too. Here’s how.
If you don’t feel like you’re making progress, it’s always okay, and encouraged, to speak up. Your therapist can work with you to make changes to your treatment plan or goals, as needed, to help you stay on track.
SonderMind helps you feel and see progress
When you seek therapy with a SonderMind therapist, tracking how you’re doing in therapy is never something you have to do on your own. Your SonderMind therapist is with you every step of the way to help you gauge your progress.
That’s because SonderMind therapists use feedback-informed care (FIC) to help guide your therapeutic journey. FIC is an innovative, evidence-based approach to mental health care that uses your feedback to measure your progress and help you stay on track with your goals.
Clinical questionnaires (CQs) are a big part of FIC. CQs are a set of questions you answer about a range of topics like your symptoms, how you’re functioning each day, and the relationship between you and your therapist.
Before and after a session, you’ll have the chance to fill out CQs. They’re built right into the SonderMind portal so you can easily fill them out. Your responses are shared with your therapist so you can both identify any behavior patterns or opportunities to reflect on changes in your well-being.
CQs are another way you and your therapist can see if you’re making progress, whether your treatment is on track, or if changes to your treatment plan need to be made. What’s more? SonderMind’s feedback-informed care approach has been clinically proven to help people see change, faster.
If you’d like to connect with a SonderMind therapist, we can help you do so within 48 hours. Just let us know what you’re looking for, and we’ll connect you with a licensed professional who meets your needs and preferences.