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How to Know if Therapy is Working

Created on August 5, 2017. Last updated on January 25th, 2022 at 01:01 pm

How do you know if therapy is working?  Once you have found a therapist you like and have started treatment, you may have questions about whether the therapy is working. It is important that you discuss therapy progress early and often with your therapist. For example, early in treatment, you, your child, and your therapist should set some goals for treatment and how you are going to measure progress toward those goals. You should also ask your therapist how long they think that it will take to reach those goals. Most research-supported therapies last a specific amount of time, and do not go on indefinitely.

Research shows that therapy works better if your therapist is regularly checking in with you about progress, particularly if they administer a questionnaire or some other measure of progress every week and use the information to make sure treatment is on track. If your therapist isn’t giving you feedback from those measures, you should ask for it. Typically, when children’s difficulties with emotions or behavior have improved, they are able to cope well with important life tasks like school work and getting along with peers and family, and their parents feel able to manage any difficulties that are ongoing, it is time to talk with your therapist about whether treatment should end. If your therapist encourages you to stay in treatment, be sure to ask for the reasons they want you to stay, what they still want to accomplish, and how you will know those goals have been met.

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Evidence-based Services Committee of Hawaii