There is a good chance that you’ve walked into a therapist’s office at some point in your life. This may have been for multiple reasons ranging from dedicated substance treatment to marriage and family therapy. Markers of good therapy are somewhat abstract and quality seems to be linked to a few components:
It can be useful to break therapy modalities into ‘Problem-based’ or ‘Insight-based.’ An example of a problem-based therapy would be a specific course of care to treat depression. It may include homework, guidance, and specific skills practice in the office. Problem-based therapies are time-limited and seek to restore your previous functioning.
Insight-based therapy emphasizes things like personality, family system, and development. It is a slower form of therapy than the problem-based approach. Both of these modalities can be successful when used for addiction recovery. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you are agreeing to the form of therapy that the clinician is providing. If you are seeking more of a brief problem-based approach and your therapist has a vision of seeing you weekly for 2 years, things seem likely to fail.
These are some of the sensible questions to ask yourself (or to outright ask your therapist) to maximize your time, money and effort in talk therapy. It is important to acknowledge numerous intangibles when experiencing psychotherapy and the emotional context of these ‘intangibles’ is often useful material itself. If a relationship works out in your life and you feel connected with that person, what were the variables that made it that way? Being able to answer that question with your therapist can be transferable to your personal life so that you feel connected on the homefront.