How does therapy work?

One of our clients recovered from a social anxiety disorder after only 5 sessions. How does therapy work so well?

  1. Measuring progress often
  2. Delivering evidence-based therapies

Change doesn’t always happen in as little as 5 sessions. The point to remember is that – change happens. We know that because we measure it using research-based assessment tools.

Here are some of the tools we use in our practice:

  • PHQ-9: measures depression
  • GAD-7: measures anxiety
  • PCL-5: measures unresolved trauma
  • PSS: measures perceived stress
  • LWRAT: measures relationship satisfaction
  • AHS: measures hope
  • GQ-6: measures gratitude
  • SGS: measures resilience

The acronyms aren’t important; what each measure is. Right now, we have about 85 different measurement tools at our office. All of them have been proven to be valid and reliable in studies. They are widely used, but you won’t see them with most therapists. In fact, only 20% of therapists even bother to measure progress, at all. That’s a sad statistic that we’re doing something about at Recovatry.

Why use formal assessments to measure progress

The client that recovered from social anxiety disorder had an initial anxiety score of 16. After the cognitive behavioral intervention we applied intently over 5 sessions, her score dropped to 4. That’s a 75% reduction in her anxiety related to social situations. How would you like to feel 75% better?

Like I said before, it doesn’t always happen that fast. Most of the time we spend months working with someone before we see that much of a result. No matter how long it takes, we have to measure progress statistically to know that what we’re doing is working.

When the intervention is not working, we’re able to catch it and pivot to another evidence-based therapy or refer the client elsewhere.

Here are the evidence-based therapies we use that work:

  • motivational interviewing
  • motivational enhancement therapy
  • cognitive behavioral therapy
  • solution-focused therapy
  • person-centered therapy
  • cognitive processing therapy
  • the Gottman method
  • rational emotive behavioral therapy

Yes, our interventions work and our limited to the presenting issues we’re good at treating. Please remember, our clients learn new skills that they practice on their own, so their success is directly related to what they’re doing to feel better. It’s not all about the intervention we apply. This means we have to add a 3rd and 4th key ingredient.

How does therapy work?

  1. Measure progress often
  2. Deliver evidence-based therapies
  3. Add 1 client motivated to recover
  4. The client believes therapy works

We measure success for our clients’ sake! We truly want them to heal, but first, they have to want to get better and believe therapy works.