Talking Therapy has the potential to literally be a life-saver for many people. However, therapy doesn’t always go according to plan, and it doesn’t improve the mental health of many people.

Sometimes people get off to a good start with therapy, only to then plateau, or even regress. Or sometimes, it just doesn’t work from the start. In either case, it is important to do something about it.

In this article, we take a look at some options for when you are finding that therapy isn’t working, or if you have completed therapy without success – and are looking for something else. Some of the following can be done alongside existing therapy.

Sometimes therapy will not relieve the symptoms of a mental health condition

Give it time

The first thing to do is to ensure that you give therapy a chance to work. Therapy is a process that takes time. If you have had a couple of sessions and feel that therapy isn’t working – ensure you wait and give therapy a chance.

Generally, you’ll need around 5-6 sessions for change to happen. By this point, you will have an idea of whether or not therapy is for you. If it isn’t, then the rest of the ideas below could be suitable.

One idea is also to take time to set yourself goals. Sometimes, therapy will be working without you realising. Consider setting goals that you can chart your progress against, as this will give you an idea of if therapy is truly working or not.

Change therapists (if possible)

Sometimes, you may struggle to get along with your therapist. Some people will find that they are unable to forge a strong bond, which is holding you back. Perhaps you struggle to open up to them.

If this is the case, then you may wish to consider changing therapists. If you are using the private sector, then changing therapist is simple – although a gentle email to inform the therapist you won’t be coming back for other sessions would be a nice touch.

However, if you are using the NHS, it can be difficult to change therapist. The best thing to do in this situation would be to speak to your current therapist about your worries, and they may be able to arrange for an alternative therapist for you.

Tell your therapist

Following on from the last point – it is a good idea to tell your therapist about your concerns. A calm conversation about the issues you’re facing could be helpful. This can lead to a conversation about which direction you both wish to go in.

Without being told, your therapist will be unaware of your concerns. So be open and honest – they will have seen it before and will not be hurt by your thoughts or feelings, they ultimately want the best for you.

Once this has been established, you can both work together to find a better solution. Perhaps you’ll try a new approach, or maybe you will part ways and you will find a new therapist.

Change therapy types

There are a huge range of types of therapy. Sometimes, you can be using the wrong type of therapy. With such a broad choice of options, it is common to need to try a few different therapy types before finding something that works.

If you are accessing therapy privately, then it is worth discussing with your therapist if there is a better type of therapy for you. For instance, if you are more concerned about the past than the present, a form of therapy like Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy would be better than something more focused on the present – such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

If you are getting therapy from the NHS, you will have limited options on which therapy you can do. The NHS only offers a few different types of therapy, with the exact therapies on offer changing from location to location. In any case, it is worth discussing your problems with your therapist – with an alternative being able to be possibly arranged.


Sometimes, medication is a potential option for those struggling with therapy. While therapy is usually preferred to medication for most mental health conditions, sometimes therapy can represent a good option.

Medicines like antidepressants can help those suffering from conditions like Depression or Anxiety. But medicines should only ever be prescribed to those who need them. But if therapy is not relieving symptoms of poor mental health, then medicine can be an option.

If you are already on medication, then an increased dose could be an option. Please be aware that in the majority of cases, a therapist is not authorised to prescribe medications, you will need your GP – or for more serious conditions, a mental health professional at your Community Mental Health Team.

Join a support group

A final suggestion is to join some form of support group. Support groups exist for those who are suffering from any kind of condition. Some people will find that talking about their experiences with a group of people can be therapeutic.

For example, those struggling with substance issues like addiction may find Narcotics Anonymous to be useful, while there are often meetups scheduled for those suffering from set conditions. Consider asking your GP for local information.


When therapy isn’t working, it is understandable to want to abruptly quit and never go back. But this isn’t the right thing to do! Mental health issues don’t tend to go away by themselves. Instead, there are other things you can do.

The above information should offer some strong alternatives and other areas to consider. We have a wealth of information across our website, and our dedicated therapy section features a range of useful articles.



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If you are struggling with your mental health, help is available. With the right support and treatment, you can make a recovery. For information on helplines, or if you are in a state of crisis, please visit our crisis page by clicking on the relevant link for your geographical location (United Kingdom), (United States), (International). You can also see how to get mental health treatment and the process involved by clicking this link.