4 Therapy Goals That Are Actually Achievable - Wylde Grey

4 Therapy Goals That Are Actually Achievable

We’ve all heard the phrase, “It’s the journey, not the destination.”

While those words of wisdom suffice on Therapy-Tok, they aren’t helpful IRL when you’re looking for evidence of progress. Whether you’re engaging in traditional CBT, shadow work, EMDR, or sound therapy, a lack of noticeable results can feel frustrating. 

So how can we measure the success of our inner work with a professional when we have yet to reach inner peace? 

Maria G. Sosa, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, recognizes the “extremely important” perception of progress and sense of accomplishment for patients.

“When we feel stuck, like we’re not making progress, it’s easy to feel discouraged and hopeless. However, just as it’s helpful to have a direction and destination to work towards, we want to also look back at previous versions of ourselves and notice the progress we’ve already made,” she explains. “We want to acknowledge our growth and shift our attention to what is improving daily.”

She also suggests taking a flexible approach to therapy, throwing any self-imposed timelines out the window.

“I like to remind clients that we all have our own internal clock, and we don’t know when things are going to click. However, for those clients who see themselves as never-ending self-improvement projects that need to be ‘fixed,’ it’s often helpful to remove goals altogether,” she explains.

She prefers patients set a goal of being curious about how the therapy process unfolds. “It’s less about doing and more about being.”

Below, Maria shares four achievable therapy goals that allow you to embrace your curiosity. They also just may get you to enjoy the scenery on your journey and care less about the destination.

1. Look for the 1% improvement.

If you want to work on your emotional reactivity, maybe this looks like setting a timer for one minute and breathing before you decide to send a text. This pause allows us to break the automatic pattern and cycle.

2. Shift toward daily check-in rituals.

If you’re looking to improve your self-esteem, ask yourself, “What is the kindest thing I can do for myself this morning?” We show kindness to those we care about, so we want to be doing the same to build ourselves up.

3. Don’t focus on the outcome.

Instead, focus on applying the tools. If you’re working on communication with your partner, instead of looking to be conflict-free (which isn’t realistic), focus on how to use the tools acquired in therapy to fight right and de-escalate more quickly.

4. Notice what you’re already doing well.

Often, we focus so much on where we’d like to be that we forget to acknowledge the moments when we’re already having small “successes.”

Progress takes time and patience. Give yourself some grace, and make sure you’re celebrating the little wins just as you would the big ones.

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