Psychotherapy is a heavily researched-based field. It may seem like it is only “talking” between yourself and a therapist, but every legitimate form of therapy has received extensive research in university level trials, with outcomes measured to see how well patients recover.
Yet, despite all this knowledge, no two people are exactly the same. Some people experienced traumas in their past they need to address. Others have fraught relationships with family members. Others need to focus on actions that they can take now in order to address their challenges, and so on.
This means that, even with all this research and knowledge, part of learning to improve your mental health is going to involve a little bit of educated guessing – a little bit of trial and error, as you and your therapist try to determine what approach is most likely to provide you with the best benefit.
Why is Trial and Error Necessary?
Therapy is not about throwing spaghetti at a wall and seeing what sticks. Everything we do together is methodical, and everyone involved with thoroughly understand why we are approaching it the way we are and why it makes sense for your situation.
However, what we often find is that we don’t know what we don’t know. That is, we may use CBT for anxiety, for example, only to find as we address the anxiety that there are some underlying issues at play that are important to address. Or we may find that, in the course of meeting regularly to talk about stress, the individual is showing signs of marital issues or coping challenges that would benefit from their own treatment.
Personality plays a role as well. Your response to therapy, no matter how open you are to the process, may cause us to find that the approach we were using is not as valuable or effective as we thought it would be. In those cases, we would want to switch to something different.
Staying Open Minded and Flexible
Seeing real progress in your mental health requires being a bit open minded and flexible towards this idea of discovering what it is that will bring out the best you. Anxiety, depression, addiction, etc. – these are disorders that respond very well to treatment, but sometimes it does require we find the right treatment. Don’t be discouraged if we need to try things or switch to new ideas. That is part of the process, and will you reach your desired outcome.