5 ways to go deeper in therapy

Have you been going to therapy for some time now without feeling like you're really benefitting? This could be because you’re not going deep enough. There are many reasons this could be happening but it's likely to do with fear. Fear of being judged, fear of being vulnerable, or fear of having to change and let go of old habits.


In this article, I’m going to share with you 5 ways to delve deeper into therapy so that you can start experiencing the hype about therapy that has people buzzing on the internet.

This process is not easy. It can feel scary at times, and awkward at others. However, leaning into the fear and surviving sharing your deepest and darkest with a supportive other will lead you to the other side: the deep. Journey into the deep with your therapist by your side with the intention of giving a voice to the wounded parts of yourself. These parts have often been suppressed and ignored, only causing the wounds to grow larger and more infected (metaphorically speaking).

Now for the 5 ways to take the plunge and get into the deep.

 1. Find a therapist who you feel comfortable and safe with

Consider what a safe person feels like to you, what qualities do they have? Does your therapist need to be a specific age, race, or gender in order to feel safe to you? If you don’t feel safe in the hands of the person in front of you then you’re not going to experience the benefits of therapy. One of the most important factors of successful therapy is the quality of the relationship between yourself and your therapist. They need to be a person you trust and feel you can talk openly with. If you are already working with a therapist, you are within your right to end therapy at any time if you don’t feel safe and comfortable.
If you are new to therapy, try a session with a therapist who meets your criteria for safety and get a sense of whether you feel you could trust them. Remember, trust is built over time and won’t happen in the very first session but listen to your gut feeling about them. Ask the following questions; Do I feel judged? Do I feel heard? Do I feel seen? Do I feel safe? The respective answers should be no, yes, yes, and yes. If they aren’t, it's likely they’re not the right therapist for you.

 2. Be honest with yourself and your therapist

If you are not being honest, you won’t go deeper into therapy. If you are afraid of being honest about something in particular, share your fear with your therapist. E.g. "I’m afraid to talk about my sex life as I’m afraid you’ll judge me." By sharing your fear, you open up an exploration in which you can learn more about yourself. You may not feel you need to talk about your sex life after learning more about your fear of talking about it. Or, you may feel more comfortable talking about it after sharing and exploring your fear.
When I first started therapy, I felt a lot of shame around a certain topic and chose not to share it with my therapist. I attended therapy for over a year and the issue didn’t improve. I gave up on therapy and lost all hope that it could work for me. Years later, I came back and decided that I was going to give therapy a real chance by being honest. This is where the life-changing stuff started to happen for me, and I started to heal. All from choosing to be honest and to go through the discomfort of sharing my experience.

Therapy would not have worked for me if I had decided to continue with not being honest with myself and my therapist. Yes, it was an excruciatingly uncomfortable experience to begin with, but then I started to feel what it was like to not be judged and to feel supported and I was able to grow in this place.
If you decide you are not going to be honest with your therapist about something, be honest with yourself about why you made this choice. You may not feel ready to share something and that’s absolutely OK. By remaining curious about the 'why' of your choices, you will learn important information about yourself.

3. Be willing to challenge yourself

Change occurs when we examine and challenge our current thoughts, behaviours, feelings, and beliefs. After challenging yourself you might realise that you’ve been holding onto something that you don’t identify with anymore. Or you may feel even stronger in your position having examined it.

Whatever it is, be open and curious about looking at it from different angles. Remember to be honest with yourself here too!

4. Be patient and trust the process

Change doesn’t happen overnight, and everyone’s journey in therapy looks different. You might be comparing yourself to someone you know who only needed a few months of therapy. You might then feel like there’s something wrong with you for needing longer. The issues that people come to therapy with vary in degrees of complexity. For example, someone with complex childhood trauma will likely need longer in therapy than someone who needs help with managing acute stress.

My point here is, that your journey is unique to you and is incomparable with anyone else’s. Be patient and show up with the intention of doing the work and being honest. Therapy is not a quick fix and requires significant dedication and effort. Finally, trust the process. It may not be clear at the beginning of therapy that anything is happening but hopefully, after some time you will feel the benefits.

5. Explore your fear with your therapist

Lastly, if you notice that you’re still finding it hard to follow the above steps and aren’t going any deeper in your therapy, talk to your therapist about it. Open up about what’s stopping you from doing the above and let the rest unfold.

Often what holds us back is fear, which makes sense because it can feel scary to let someone see our true thoughts and feelings. Share your fear with your therapist, it could help to reduce it and lead you to a place where you feel safe.

If you’ve found yourself stuck in therapy and want to go deeper, try out the above steps and notice what happens. If you’re new to therapy, I hope this is a useful guide for you on how to make the most of your therapy. If you’re reading this and realising that you don’t feel safe with your therapist and that’s what’s stopping you — it’s time to get a new one! 
Check out my profile if you are looking for a therapist who will support you on a journey into the depths of your inner world. A place where you will develop greater self-understanding, and self-acceptance and start living a life free from old negative patterns.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London WC1X & SW6
Written by Isabella Whitaker, PGDip Psychotherapy & Counselling, MBACP, BSc (Hons)
London WC1X & SW6

Isabella is an integrative psychotherapist who specialises in working with trauma and everything that comes with that, including anxiety, depression, difficulty in relationships, isolation etc. Her practice is based on the philosophy that every person has the capacity to grow and to find meaning in life no matter what they have been through.

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