What should therapy do?
The first thing therapy should do is help you understand what is happening to you and why. It should help you understand and make sense of the way you feel, behave and respond to situations. Behaviours are there for a reason, they are not by themselves a problem, somewhere along the line they have been a solution to a problem. Therapy should help you unravel what the core of the actual problem is and what is needed to help make things better. The therapist is there to help you see what is needed for things to get better and what changes you need to make. It’s not for the therapist to decide what needs to change, they can offer suggestions and observations but decisions on what you are working on have to be yours.
When we have coping mechanisms, they are or have been necessary in order to deal with things. If we just try to stop and change these without knowing the purpose they serve then we risk replacing them with something equally or sometimes more unhealthy. In order to let go of something we need healthy ways to regulate and cope, if we put these in place then often the unhealthy coping mechanism lets go by itself as it’s no longer needed.
How to know if the therapy is right for you
Therapy should equip you to deal with the ups and down of life. If you feel a growing dependancy upon your therapist and get panic stricken if they have time off then the relationship is over dependant. Therapy should enable you to cope better not be disabling, it should build your resilience and give you tools you can use outside the therapy sessions.
The sessions should not be a mystery, your therapist should be able to explain what you are working on and why, if the therapist seems to know about you and your process then ask them for some clarity. If they can’t give you this then consider changing therapist. Just because we have been seeing someone for a while it doesn’t mean we have to just keep going. I have successfully treated many people who have had a lot of different therapy and have become somewhat disillusioned. You should see progress, I don’t agree with the belief that things have to get worse before they get better, they should just get better.