How Do I Know If I’m Making Progress in Therapy?

Measuring progress is a very important part of therapy and can be easy to forget. Without actively measuring your progress, it can be easy at times to feel like you’ve plateaued or like you’re being vulnerable, spending money, and doing a lot of emotional labor for nothing. In reality, you are likely making a lot of progress; you simply aren’t tracking it, which is why setting up a system to do so is important. Here are some ways you can do this:

Set goals: Setting goals with your therapist can help you know what you are trying to achieve. Goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, and relevant. This will not only help you, but also assist your therapist in helping you. As you progress, you and your therapist can check in on where you’re at along the way in regard to your goals.

Feedback from your therapist: Ask your therapist for feedback. It’s okay to ask them questions – it might feel scary or like it’s something you’re ‘not supposed to do’ – but why? You’re literally paying them to help you – you should be able to ask them, in their professionally trained opinion, where they think you’re at and how you’ve progressed with their assistance. If they think you haven’t made enough progress, maybe other techniques need to be used, and this conversation could be a good starting point to begin moving towards more productive treatment for you. Ultimately, the goal is for you to get the treatment that will work best for you. Ask questions and ask for feedback.

Assess the frequency and intensity of symptoms: Clients can assess the frequency and intensity of their symptoms. For example, if a client was experiencing daily flashbacks before therapy, but 6 months in is only having two flashbacks a week, that’s significant progress.

Journaling: Keeping a journal can help track your progress in therapy. Write down your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and reflect on them over time to see how far you’ve come and how patterns change over time.