Tools to help you
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Stuck in Therapy?

Therapy, like any pursuit, is complex with its share of highs and lows. However, among these peaks and valleys, there’s a terrain that doesn’t often get much attention—the plateaus. If you find yourself feeling “stuck” in therapy, you’re not alone. It’s a common part of the healing pursuit that many of us encounter. Far from being a sign of failure, feeling stuck can be a profound opportunity for deeper insight and transformation.

The Illusion of Stagnation

When we first start on therapy, many of us have a clear goal in mind or a problem we wish to solve. Progress initially can feel swift and visible. Over time, however, the pace of discoveries might slow down, and our weekly sessions may no longer bring new revelations. This plateau can easily be misconstrued as stagnation.

But is it really stagnation? Often, what feels like being stuck is actually a deeper process at work, one that is less about dramatic discoveries and more about subtle shifts and integration. This phase is where the slow, steady work of therapy happens—work that is crucial for lasting change.

a body of water with fallen leaves between trees, stagnant water to illustrate feeling stuck
Photo by Evgeniy Alekseyev on

The Purpose of Plateaus

Plateaus can serve multiple purposes in our therapeutic journey. One primary function is consolidation. Just as athletes need rest days to allow muscles to repair and strengthen, our minds need time to integrate new insights and strategies learned in therapy. This quieter period allows us to start applying what we’ve learned to our daily lives, testing and tweaking as we go.

Another purpose of feeling stuck might be that it signals the need to dig deeper. Sometimes, we plateau because we’ve reached the boundaries of what our conscious minds are ready to tackle. Subconsciously, we might be preparing ourselves to face deeper, more ingrained issues that require us to muster additional emotional resources.

glass ball on wood clip art, example of changing perspective when stuck
Photo by Pixabay on

Strategies to Embrace the Plateau

1. Reframe Your Perspective: Begin by reframing what it means to be stuck in therapy. Rather than viewing it as a lack of progress, consider it a part of the process necessary for deeper growth. Acknowledge that healing is not linear and that this plateau can be a sign of upcoming breakthroughs.

2. Communicate Openly with Your Therapist: When you feel stuck in therapy, it’s crucial to discuss these feelings with your therapist. They can help you understand whether this is a natural pause in your pursuit or if your therapy needs adjusting. Sometimes, changing the approach or focusing on different areas can reignite progress.

3. Focus on Small Wins: During this period, it might help to focus on smaller, achievable goals. These small wins can be instrumental in motivating you and can lead to more significant changes. Celebrate these victories, no matter how minor they seem.

4. Engage in Self-reflection: Use this time to reflect on your therapy journey. What have you learned so far? How have you changed? Reflection can sometimes reveal progress that isn’t immediately apparent but is nonetheless significant.

5. Cultivate Patience and Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself and acknowledge that growth takes time. Cultivating patience is itself a valuable skill that will benefit many areas of your life. Self-compassion is crucial, especially when progress feels slow.

The Hidden Growth Beneath the Surface

Remember, when you feel stuck in therapy, there’s often a lot happening just beneath the surface. Just as a plant’s growth is not always visible above soil but is vibrant within the roots, your psychological and emotional transformations are often internal and profound. The work you’re doing is laying the foundation for future resilience and well-being.

If you find yourself feeling stuck in therapy, don’t despair. Embrace this phase as an integral part of your growth. With the right perspective and strategies, these seemingly still waters can lead you to the deeper currents of change and healing, making the pursuit all the more rewarding.

About Us

At The Pursuit, a group of experienced therapists have come together to offer best-in-class counseling services. We prioritize clinical theory, non-judgmental approaches, and effective interventions, treatment plans, and coping skills. We have therapists who specialize in different areas and we strive to find the best match for your unique needs. Our services cater to individuals, families, and organizations, including adolescents in high school. We invite you to book your free 20-minute consultation with one of our skilled therapists. Don’t wait; it’s time to invest in your well-being. Simply Book Now to start your Pursuit toward personal growth and positive change today.

by Julia Akins APC

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