Does Counseling Work?
There are some questions that I get asked a lot. This is one of the questions that I get asked the most. If it didn’t work, I promise I wouldn’t be wasting my time doing it. I’d probably work on making a career out of playing with my kids and rescuing dogs. But the answer to the question is “yes, it can and usually does work.” Not only for anxiety, but for issues like low self-esteem and depression (and a lot of other stuff).
Ways I’ve seen it work…
Without giving up identifiable information, here are a few of the general ways I’ve seen anxiety treatment work:
- Going from being unable to stay in school each day to enjoying school, making friends, and attending prom.
- Starting out too scared to talk to other people and making close, meaningful relationships by the time therapy concluded.
- Moving from consistently chaotic dating relationships to a positive, secure relationship that they enjoy.
- From being unable to attend an event like a pep rally to enjoying some activities in large crowds.
- Progressing from being too fearful to talk with parents and friends about important things to feeling comfortable in expressing needs and feelings to people important to them.
Why did you start wondering if anxiety treatment works?
Maybe it sounds too good to be true. You may have been dealing with anxiety so long that you’re in complete disbelief that it could ever go away. Or maybe you just think counseling is a joke altogether. Either way, you’re here reading this so I guess you have some kind of interest. I have answers that will hopefully give you a better idea of what therapy and anxiety treatment are all about and whether it can work for you.
Full truth: anxiety treatment doesn’t always work.
As far as sales pitches go, to tell you it doesn’t always work is probably not the strongest pitch I can give. But I try to be honest about whatever I’m talking about. In truth it does work for most people. Counseling won’t 100% take any pain and suffering out of life. If you figure out that secret, please tell me. But the vast majority of the people I work with say that anxiety goes way down, and that they’re able to cope with it a lot better when it comes up.
Why does it work for some, but not for others?
I would say that for some people, it doesn’t work for them right now. That can happen for lots of different reasons. Sometimes it’s not a good fit with you and your therapist (like if you’re a teenager whose parent decided “you will see this therapist”). Other times, it may just not be the right time for therapy. You may get started and realize you don’t want to do everything that therapy involves, like talking about hard parts of life – that can be uncomfortable, but it’s usually an important part of therapy. Or you may have trouble staying consistent with it. Consistency is important in anxiety treatment, or really any type of therapy.
I said I didn’t want to BS you, so I’ll also add that not all therapists are good therapists. Just like tattoo artists, mechanics, delivery drivers, and graphic designers are bad sometimes – therapists can be bad at what they do, too. With that said, it’s really rare for me to meet a therapist who I feel like it would be really sketchy to refer someone to. I get to know lots of other therapists, psychiatrists, and other mental health workers to make sure I feel good about them before I refer someone.
Another issue that can affect how well therapy “works” is if you feel like your therapist has different values than you, or that they may not accept who you are. This may be related to your gender identity, race, sexuality, religion (or lack thereof), or other factors. The fact is that some therapists aren’t as accepting or knowledgeable as others. I want to point out that this should not be the norm – it’s definitely not the norm here. You should feel safe, secure, and welcomed by your therapist. I’m confident that’s how you’ll feel at our office. You can absolutely tell a prospective therapist about you and make sure you feel welcomed by them. Being accepted and celebrated for who you are is a fundamental part of therapy.
How long does anxiety treatment take?
For some people, they’re in therapy for a month or two. Other people go to therapy for years. It depends on some things I mentioned above. But it also depends on what you want to accomplish from therapy and what kind of therapy you want to do (I’ll go over this below). It also depends on your life circumstances and what’s happened in the past. I know you haven’t had total control over everything that’s happened your entire life, and I know it’s not fair. I know that may really suck. Most therapists will do all we can to help you with whatever comes together to bring you to therapy.
What kind of therapy works best?
That’s a really good, big question. I realize you may not care about types of therapy, and you can feel free to skip this section if you don’t. There are so many types of therapy, and most therapists don’t just stick to one type. I mix in several different types of therapy (ACT, Jungian, Person-Centered, CBT, RO-DBT). What works best for you really depends on a couple of different things.
- Do you really care about the kind of therapy, or more about a good personality fit?
- If you’ve read about different therapies, what sounds good to you? If you absolutely hate the idea of a certain type of therapy, you probably don’t want to work with a therapist who mostly uses that type of therapy.
What I suggest is this: Look at websites. Get recommendations from friends. Reach out to counselors who look like good fits. When you contact a therapist, see how you feel like the personality fit is. You can explain what you’re dealing with and what you want to get from therapy (often something related to anxiety or depression treatment from most who call me, because I specialize in anxiety and self-worth). If it’s not on a therapist’s website already, you can ask them about how they do therapy, too.
In some cases, anxiety comes up because of specific, current life circumstances. This may be related to issues like bullying, discrimination, workplace harassment, sensory processing issues, or other problems that can be situational. Lots of these issues need to be dealt with outside of the therapy office, in the form of school or workplace advocacy, IEPs, or similar steps. As therapists, we generally do all we can to help with these issues. That means that sometimes we step out of our offices on behalf of, or with, our clients (when our clients want us to do that and give us that permission).
Does this answer your question?
I always hate giving the answers that depend on so many things, because I know people want something they can be sure about – especially when we’re talking about anxiety (which can be based a lot on being unsure of things).
In any case, I think that most people will tell you that therapy was or is helpful for them. I’m pretty open about the fact that I go to therapy – and that most of the therapists I know go to therapy – as a way to continue to grow. If I didn’t believe it worked, I absolutely would not do it. But it does, so I do!
More questions? Let me know. I’m here to answer questions about anxiety treatment in Franklin, TN
If you’re struggling with anxiety, or just not feeling good emotionally, I really believe it can get better for you. Whether you’re in awkward middle school, super stressful high school, or overwhelming early adulthood, you don’t have to continue feeling anxious. I’m happy to answer any quesitons you have. Or if you know you want to get started with anxiety treatment for teens or young adults in Franklin, TN follow these simple steps:
- Contact Cody and Edge for a free 15-minute consultation.
- Meet with Cody and Edge in person or online.
- Begin counseling so you can overcome anxiety, feel confident, and find your voice.
Counseling Services Provided by Cody and Edge
We offer several different services at our Franklin, TN counseling office: Counseling for Teens, Counseling for Young Women, Walk + Talk Therapy, and Group Therapy for Teen Girls. Cody and Edge are also available to provide online therapy to Tenessee residents. Contact our office to learn more!