What to do When Your Therapist Isn’t Helping You

Struggling with mental illness is difficult and when your therapist isn't helping you, it can be even worse.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.
Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

Many people who struggle with mental health issues may seek professional support and treatment. For some, seeing a professional is the last resort, and when therapy doesn’t work or have the outcome patients yearn to see, it can truly be disheartening and demoralizing. If you’re currently struggling to achieve results, here’s what to do when your therapist doesn’t seem to be helping:

Determine What Steps You Will Take in Moving Forward

If you don’t believe your therapy is working, you should communicate your feelings to your therapist. Ask your therapist how long you should expect before you begin to notice results, or if you’re doubtful of a particular treatment method, ask if you can attempt a different approach.

Begin Working With Your Therapist

While therapists offer professional support and treatment, you should also become proactive in your treatment. Ask your therapist to recommend homework assignments if you haven’t been given any already. Talk more openly about your concerns with treatment, and see if you two can work toward a mutual plan for progress.

Try a New Therapist

If your therapist isn’t someone who accepts your values, actively works to understand your emotions, and doesn’t make you feel accepted, heard, or valid, you might need to seek a new therapist. If your therapist is someone who already validates your feelings and works toward understanding, but your therapy isn’t yielding the results you desire or you and your therapist anticipated, your therapist might not be right for you. While you might like your therapist, different therapists have varying competencies. It might be time to move on to a different therapist who will explore different treatment and medication options, approach therapy differently, and provide specific recommendations for activities or homework to help you cope with your mental health issues outside of the therapist’s office.

Talk to Your Doctor

For many mental health conditions, research suggests that therapy combined with medication is often the most effective way to achieve results. If your therapy isn’t working, you might consider discussing medication options with your doctor. Doctors can also assess your physical health problems, which may be compounding your mental health. For example, sluggishness that often mimics symptoms of depression can actually be a symptom of hypothyroidism.

While it can be frustrating when therapy doesn’t seem to be working, a lack of results does not mean the end of progress. It’s important to not dismiss yourself. Continue trying, proceed to research your condition, and reach out other professionals who can aid you in your journey. Most importantly, remain an advocate for yourself and continue to seek the treatment that will work for you.

Herrick Lipton is the CEO of New Horizon Counseling Center in New York and is also an advocate for mental health. For more information about Herrick or to get in touch with New Horizon Counseling Center for resources, please visit or call 718-845-2620.

Originally published at

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


What to do When Your Therapist Isn’t Helping You

by Herrick Lipton

Can Your Smartphone Really Be Your Therapist?

by Josephine Chu

7 Questions To Ask Your Therapist

by Sweta Bothra
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.