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Therapy Is Not Working, What am I Doing Wrong?

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From the U.S.: Hi, I have been dealing with depression and anxiety for nearly half my life, I have been on medications and went to see different doctors, but nothing yet has worked. Now, my anxiety is getting worse. I am starting to display what I would call “social anxiety” symptoms. I don’t leave the house unless I have to for work, I avoid going to parties, I avoid meeting friends for lunch or dinner, I even show up late for family Christmas parties.

I started seeing a therapist, but I think I may have had the wrong understanding of what therapy is. I thought therapists work in conjunction with other mental health professionals, i.e., Psychiatrists, to make sure your medicine is helping, and Psychologist, to make sure the patient is being treated for the right diagnosis. My therapist did not, in fact I was taken aback when the therapist kept asking me, what I was “doing there”, and what I was “going to do to change my life”! I thought that’s what I was there for, was to work out those questions with a therapist. So before I go searching for another therapist, do I have the wrong impression of what therapy really is?
Thank you for your time, and consideration.

Therapy Is Not Working, What am I Doing Wrong?

Answered by on -


No, I don’t think you have the wrong idea. I think it’s unfortunate that over the last few decades, the helping professions have become very separated with psychiatrists, psychologists and medical doctors dealing with their patients separately. That leaves the consumer with the responsibility for coordinating their own care.

I suggest you look for a practice that has an interdisciplinary team. That means that there is a psychiatrist working alongside the various talk-therapists (psychologists, social workers, mental health counselors). When you call a practice or clinic for information, be sure to ask how much the disciplines in fact collaborate.

As far as your experience with a therapist: Not every therapist is a good “fit” for every individual. In my own work, I encourage people to “shop” by interviewing several therapists before signing on to do therapeutic work. As one of my colleagues pointed out (with no disrespect intended), finding the right therapist is like finding the right pair of jeans. You try several on until you find the one that fits you. In your case, you need to be working with a talk therapist who is more active/directive and who has a working relationship with your prescriber.

Please don’t be discouraged. There are many, many fine therapists in the world. You just have to give yourself the time (and the self-respect) to do your homework and find the right one for you.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Therapy Is Not Working, What am I Doing Wrong?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Therapy Is Not Working, What am I Doing Wrong?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 6 Sep 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.