Regardless of what brought you to therapy in the first place, there is no rule that says therapy is a one-time thing and returning to therapy is okay!
Most of the time, people stop attending therapy sessions once they feel their problems have subsided. It doesn’t mean that you’ll never need therapy again. According to Psychology Today, almost 30-40% of people do not recover after a first-line mental health treatment. Even when therapy fails to help someone on the first try, it can still be effective the second time around. It’s easy to think that going back to therapy means failure, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It means you’re taking the right steps to maintain your long-term mental health and looking after your mental health is an ongoing journey.
Below are some signs that it might be time to consider going back to therapy.
1. Your symptoms are back.
The most apparent sign to return to therapy is when you are experiencing symptoms again. A lot is happening in the world right now that can trigger symptoms of anxiety and depression. Even if you are utilizing strategies and have been managing your triggers, sometimes symptoms can be so severe that you give into their effects. Going back to therapy can help you find new ways of coping.
2. You’re going through a major life event.
Unexpected things in life come up at times that can be challenging and you may find it difficult to manage. Maybe you recently lost your job, a family member has fallen ill, or you’re experiencing problems in your relationship. Even major life events worth celebrating like getting married or having a baby can be stressful and affect your mental health. It might be time to return to therapy and discuss how these life events are impacting your mental health and well-being.
3. You seem to be repeating patterns in your life.
You may have a specific behavior that you can’t seem to quit. Engaging in a behavior that you recognize as unhelpful but finding yourself doing it anyways, is a sign that you may need support in breaking the habit. Working with a therapist is essential to breaking these patterns and establishing new, healthy ones.
4. Something feels off.
Sometimes it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of something and you may feel stuck. Maybe you can’t sleep, your eating habits have changed, or you’re feeling restless. These are some indicators that it’s time to go back to your therapist and talk about what’s happening. Remember, everyone is different, and the signs of worsening mental health aren’t the same for us all. A therapist can help you get to the root cause of your struggles and help you figure out appropriate goals to get you unstuck.
5. You could use an unbiased and confidential person to talk to.
You may find yourself wanting to talk through the things you’re struggling with a friend or a loved one, however you feel a lack of support from them, or you’ve tried to discuss your situation with them and they weren’t helpful. The type of conversation you have with a therapist is very different from the type of conversation you would have with a friend. A therapist is unbiased and neutral, and is someone you can absolutely trust to keep what you say confidential. Talking through your situation with a therapist could be beneficial and help you get the support you need.
Making the choice to go back to therapy can be empowering and make you feel like you’re taking the right steps to care for yourself. You deserve to feel supported and choosing to return to therapy is a courageous step in your journey to health and wellness.
Is it time to return to therapy?
At Active Path Mental Health, our Oregon and Washington-based therapists use a short-term cognitive behavioral therapy model. Click to learn more or fill out the free consultation form at the bottom of the page.