The attached article is intended for therapists, to help them get out of work that is going nowhere with their clients. It provides an important reminder for therapists of what we’re actually supposed to be doing with clients and then gives valuable lessons on how to get back on track. I think this article is valuable for therapy clients as well, however, because people will recognize themselves in the examples that are described in the article, and it may help them to see what shouldn’t be happening or that it may be time to change in therapy or therapists.
The key to what’s going on in these cases of stuck therapy and can be found in the fifth paragraph on the first page. Once again, the problem seems to be that the therapist and client are not setting goals and evaluating progress on a regular basis. Instead they’re just going from week to week.
The author goes on to suggest how to remedy the situation. He’s right on target that many conscientious therapists who realize they’re stuck in a vicious cycle will make an abrupt shift in focus either through confrontation or through trying a new technique without warning. New therapists, in their zeal to learn and practice new models, do this all the time. They genuinely want to “unstick” the therapy but their methods seem to come out of nowhere because they make these abrupt shifts.
What the author suggests is a gentle evaluation process where the therapist and client work together to evaluate where they are at, and re-contract on how to move forward. Sometime the outcome of this process is that therapy comes to an end. This is a perfectly legitimate outcome. Maybe the client has actually achieved what he or she came for and is now just passing the time, or maybe their priorities have changed. If the therapy is to continue, the process changes based on an analysis that therapist and client have made together. So there are no big surprises.
This article continues on past this point for a few more pages, and is a good read if you’re interested in details about how different scenarios get played out when therapy is stuck. If you don’t want to read that much, stick to the first 2-3 pages. They give a good picture of where things ought to be going in therapy. If you have a therapist who doesn’t want to go there with you then it’s time to think about what you really want, and make sure you get it elsewhere. A lot of therapists enjoy the week to week narratives of therapy that goes nowhere, but it’s your money and time so make sure you get the services that are most helpful to you. http://www.psychotherapynetworker.org/magazine/currentissue/item/2129-when-therapy-is-going-nowhere