Therapy can be a transformative and life-changing experience, but seeing success in therapy goes beyond just attending sessions and discussing your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors with your therapist. It involves actively monitoring and evaluating the changes and improvements you experience throughout your therapeutic journey, so you can see tangible evidence of your progress, identify patterns, and make informed decisions about your mental health.
So, what does tracking your progress in therapy really look like, and how will you know if therapy is helping you? Here, we’ll share the importance of tracking your therapy progress and offer a few tips on how to monitor how you’re doing throughout your journey, so you can make the most of your time in therapy and reach your goals.
Why tracking your therapy progress matters
Tracking your therapy progress serves as a roadmap towards self-discovery, healing, and achieving your goals. Monitoring how you’re doing in therapy helps you:
- See the positive changes you've made and celebrate your successes
- Objectively measure your improvement, allowing you to set realistic goals and assess whether therapy is working
- Develop a sense of self-awareness and self-reflection as you become more attuned to your own experiences and learn to recognize triggers and warning signs
It's important to remember that making progress in therapy isn’t a linear journey, nor does it happen overnight. Progress looks different for everyone, and it’s something that often takes time. Progress can take weeks, months, or even longer. It all depends on what you’re looking to get out of therapy and your unique circumstances.
No matter what your situation is, keep in mind that progress is possible through therapy. In fact, research shows that most people who go to therapy experience relief from their symptoms and are able to function better. Moreover, about 75% of people who enter therapy show some benefit from it.
Here are a few tips to help you keep track of your progress throughout your therapy journey, so you can see how far you’ve come and work with your therapist to make adjustments as needed to help you reach your goals.
7 tips to track your therapy progress
Here’s what tracking your progress can look like from your first session through to your last:
1. Note your "starting point"
Before beginning therapy, take some time to reflect on your current emotional state and overall well-being. Document your thoughts, feelings, and any specific challenges you’re facing, and share them with your therapist. This can provide a baseline against which you can measure your progress going forward.
2. Work with your therapist to set goals
Collaborating with your therapist to establish clear and achievable goals is key to seeing success in therapy. That’s why it’s important to let your therapist know what you’re looking to get out of therapy. They may ask you follow-up questions and work with you to help you more clearly define your goals, needs, and desires, so they can ensure the treatment plan you develop together meets your unique needs.
Effective goals set in therapy should be specific, measurable, achievable, and flexible. At SonderMind, our therapists practice feedback-informed care (FIC), so they’ll use evidence-based tools to guide goal-setting and help you determine realistic milestones. You can also use this guide to help you set your therapy goals.
3. Check in with your feelings regularly
Regularly checking in with your emotions is an essential part of tracking your therapy progress. Take time each day to identify and acknowledge your feelings. For example, consider how you’re feeling when you first wake up. Does this change throughout the day? Why or why not? If something happens during the day that affects your feelings, make note of it and share with your therapist so you can identify triggers and work to make positive changes to your feelings and mood.
4. Note any changes in how you're feeling
Throughout your time in therapy, pay close attention to any shifts or changes in how you feel, make note of them, and share with your therapist. Do you notice improvements in your mood, confidence, or overall outlook on life? Are there any recurring themes or triggers that still cause you distress? Actively recognizing these changes will help you and your therapist tailor your treatment plan as needed to help you stay on track toward your goals.
Remember that therapy progress can take many forms. It could be a sense of relief after a difficult session, feeling more in control of your emotions, or seeing changes in your behavior or thought patterns. These changes may be subtle, and it can be easy to overlook them if you're not keeping track. By taking note of the changes you experience, you may find that you're making more progress than you thought. Here are a few ways to tell if you’re progressing in therapy.
5. Lean on others for insight
Sometimes, those close to us can see how we’ve changed and progressed before we see it in ourselves. That’s why seeking feedback and insight from trusted friends, family members, or support groups can be valuable in tracking your therapy progress. Getting an external perspective, combined with your self-reflection and insights from your therapist, can provide a more comprehensive picture of your progress.
6. Be open and honest with your therapist
Maintaining open and honest communication with your therapist is key to developing a strong relationship with them and ensuring you make strides toward reaching your goals in therapy. To help your therapist better understand your progress, it’s important to share your experiences, challenges, and victories openly and regularly with them. This helps them monitor how you’re doing now and over time, and allows them to identify any challenges you may be experiencing that could hinder your progress. With this insight, they can work with you to make any changes needed to your treatment plan to get you back on track.
It’s important to be honest even when things aren’t going great. For example, you may experience some setbacks. This is normal. Setbacks are when the issue you’ve been working through in therapy starts to resurface again. You may feel like you’ve lost all progress and are starting at square one again. Know that it’s possible to get back on track again with help from your therapist. Share any setbacks you’re experiencing with them so they can work with you to make any adjustments needed to help you put your best foot forward again.
7. Consider keeping a source of truth on progress
Keeping track of your therapy sessions and jotting down important insights or breakthroughs you experience inside and outside of therapy can be beneficial for both you and your therapist. It can be easier to track your progress if you use one source of truth for yourself, such as a therapy journal or note-taking app. This can help you stay organized and detect patterns and gain insights into your progress over time. Your therapist will have their own notes, too, but it’s important to share your perspective of your own progress with them as well. Your source of truth will serve as a valuable reference for you and your therapist to help you reflect on the progress you're making throughout therapy.
If at any point you’re wondering if you’ve made strides in therapy, asking yourself these questions can help you see how far you’ve come.
SonderMind makes it easy to track progress
Everyone’s therapy journey is unique, and tracking therapy progress can look different for everyone. However, seeing a therapist who practices feedback-informed care can make it easier to see the progress you made, not just from an objective standpoint, but from an evidence-based perspective. That’s because feedback-informed care is an evidence-based approach to mental health care that uses your feedback to measure your progress.
At SonderMind, you share your feedback with your therapist through clinical questionnaires (CQs) as part of our feedback-informed approach to therapy. CQs are a set of questions you answer about a range of topics such as your symptoms, how you’re feeling and functioning each day, and how you’re feeling about the relationship between you and your therapist. You’ll fill out CQs right in your SonderMind portal before and after your sessions with your therapist. Your responses are shared with your therapist so you can both identify any behavior patterns and reflect on changes in your well-being.
At SonderMind, our therapists practice feedback-informed care to help you not just track your progress, but make the most of your time in therapy. In fact, SonderMind’s feedback-informed care approach has been clinically proven to help people see change, faster.
If you’re looking to make positive changes in your life, SonderMind can help connect you with a licensed therapist who’s right for your unique needs and goals, and will work with you to make tracking your progress easier. Just let us know what you’re looking for, and we’ll connect you with someone who meets your preferences within 48 hours.