Have you found yourself wondering if there's such a thing as a therapy relapse? Do you ever catch yourself asking, "should I go back to therapy?" If so, that might be a sign telling you that going back to therapy might be a good idea.
Regardless of what brought you to therapy in the first place, there is no rule that says therapy is a one-time thing. Most of the time, people stop attending therapy sessions once they feel their problems are gone. Even long-term therapy, at one point or another, comes to an end. It doesn't mean that you'll never need therapy again. In some cases, giving yourself a break from therapy can be beneficial to your recovery.
Let's explore some signs that it might be time to consider going back to therapy.
1. Your symptoms are back
The most apparent sign is experiencing symptoms again. If the main reason you chose to seek therapy was to address a mental health condition, your symptoms are an excellent indicator of your well-being. A lot is happening in the world right now that can trigger symptoms of anxiety, depression, and compulsive behaviors.
While trigger prevention and trigger management are part of therapy, sometimes the symptoms are so severe that you succumb to their effects. When this happens, don't let your symptoms get the best of you. Going back to therapy can help you find new coping mechanisms that work with your new reality — whatever that is today.
2. You’re going through a major life event
Life can throw many curveballs. Sometimes they’re ones that you can handle. And sometimes they’re not, and that’s okay.
Maybe you recently lost your job or a family member is sick. Perhaps your relationship is taking a toll with the added strain. Or maybe the realities of remote work long-term isn't settling with you. Even major life events, like getting married or having a baby — while they’re reasons for celebration — can also be stressful events that affect your mental health.
You might feel out of control and hopeless. It might be time to return to therapy and discuss how these life events are affecting your mental health and well-being.
3. Something feels off
Sometimes, you can't pinpoint the exact cause of something. Maybe you can't sleep, you're eating less, or you feel uneasy. Remember, everyone is different, and the signs of worsening mental health aren't the same for us all. It's important to know yourself and recognize when something feels off.
Do you feel numb? Do you feel restless all the time? Maybe you’re finding it hard to focus and stay on one task? Are you crying all the time? These can all be indicators that it's time to go back to your therapist and talk about what's happening. If you’re not feeling quite like yourself lately, read more on when to get help for depression, anxiety, or ADHD.
It's common for people to feel shame about going back to therapy, even if you feel you didn’t benefit before. In fact, there's evidence that proves that even when therapy fails to help someone on the first try, it can still be effective the second time around. Almost 30-40% of people do not recover after a first-line mental health treatment, according to Psychology Today. The fact that you chose to leave therapy at one point doesn't mean you can't come back.
It's easy to think that going back to therapy means failure, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Choosing to see a therapist again is by no means failing. It means you're taking the right steps to maintain your long-term mental health. Looking after your mental health is an ongoing journey, and getting help is never a failure.
Choosing to go back to therapy can be an empowering feeling that you're taking the right steps to care for yourself. Whether you choose to go back to your old therapist, or seek help from another one, keep a positive mindset in your search. At SonderMind, we’re here to help guide you and be your partner and advocate.
Chen, S. (2018). Give yourself a break: The power of self-compassion. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved May 31, 2022 from https://hbr.org/2018/09/give-yourself-a-break-the-power-of-self-compassion
Gloster, A., T.B. Rinner, M., Ioannou, M. Villanueva, J., Block, V., Ferrari, G., Benoy, C., Bader, K., & Karekla, M. (2019, December 26). Treating treatment non-responders: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled psychotherapy trials. ScienceDirect. Retrieved May 31, 2022 from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0272735819303228
Kecmanovic, J. (2020, February 26). Therapy can help even those who did not benefit before. Psychology Today. Retrieved May 31, 2022 from https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/science-practice/202002/therapy-can-help-even-those-who-did-not-benefit
Sack, D. (2013, March 18). 5 signs it's time to seek therapy. Psychology Today. Retrieved May 31, 2022 from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/where-science-meets-the-steps/201303/5-signs-its-time-seek-therapy