Therapy is a great way of overcoming psychological challenges.
But how can you tell if your therapy is working?
The best way to tell is by having clear therapy goals. These goals will not only help measure your progress but will also help accelerate your improvement. Therapy goals will motivate you to put more effort into the sessions. As a result, you can accomplish the objectives much faster and successfully complete your therapy sooner.
Now, the critical question is, what are your goals for therapy?
If you haven’t set them, no worries. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of how to set therapy goals that work for you.
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What Are Therapy Goals and Objectives?
What is goal setting in counseling?
A goal is a picture of where you want to be at a specific time in the future.
If your goal is to change your behavior, what do you consider to be the ideal behavior? Is it something you can achieve? If so, how?
Keep in mind that a therapy goal is not a trait you can achieve overnight.
Plus, it’s crucial to involve a therapist when setting your therapy goals. Therapists have worked with many people and can help you set realistic goals. There’s what you expect from therapy, and there’s what therapy can help you achieve. Mutual goal setting between you and your therapist helps to bridge this expectation gap. At the same time, it will help prevent setting too low or too high goals. If therapy goals are too low, they may not challenge you enough to put more effort. On the other hand, if they’re too high, they may be too challenging to achieve. And failure to meet them can lead to frustration.
So, how can you set challenging yet achievable therapy goals?
Common Counseling Goals and Examples
Therapy goals cannot be similar for everyone. What you want to achieve may be different from what another person wants. So, you can’t just copy another person’s goals. Consider your specific reasons for therapy. Set the main goal first. Then, break it down into smaller chunks that are easier to manage. Together with your therapist, identify specific actions to be taken to achieve each part of the goal. After all, therapy cannot start without knowing what you want out of it.
Most therapy goals involve:
- Changing from a particular behavior
- Coping with a new situation
- Improving decision-making capabilities
- Establishing and maintaining healthy relationships
Here’s an example, let’s say you want to overcome addiction to alcohol. Your goal could be to stop drinking entirely. Since you can’t achieve this goal overnight, you may decide to reduce your drinking quantity or drink only on selected days of the week. Remember, each goal you set must have a time frame. So, keep in mind the specific date when you want to quit drinking entirely. That’s how goal setting works in therapy. Make sure you write your therapy goals down and keep track of your progress. If you set reasonable therapy goals, you might find them easier to achieve.
How Goal-Setting Can Impact Mental Health?
Setting therapy goals can have greater benefits when done collaboratively. You can’t establish the objectives by yourself, and your therapist can’t make them for you. When you set therapy goals yourself, you might make them too low or too high. On the other hand, if your therapist sets them for you, the goals may not work with you or meet your specific needs. But when you collaborate, you’ll establish an alliance that’s likely to achieve positive results. Collaboration also encourages communication which is essential in therapy. Setting goals pushes your mind to think. It creates a learning moment that’s healthy for your brain. Moreover, you feel happy every time you achieve a goal. This happiness motivates you to work even harder and accomplish the remaining goals. As your life starts to improve for the better, your self-esteem grows.
Qualities of Good Therapy Goals
Therapy goals should be:
- Specific rather than general. This will make it easier to measure and monitor progress
- Achievable but still challenging
- Time-bound. Showing a specific achievement date
- Relevant to your particular problem
As you set therapy goals, understand the reason for having them. Choose which goals to start with and come up with specific actions to be taken for each objective. Your therapy can only end if you have achieved your therapy goals. If you’re unable to achieve therapy goals, that’s not a reason to give up on therapy. Identify the reasons for failure and work on them. If the objectives are too complicated, break them down and start with simple ones. Most importantly, get help from an experienced therapist.
Are you wondering where to find qualified and experienced therapists? EZCare Clinic has helped many patients dealing with alcoholism, depression, and many other mental disorders. Check out our services, and don’t hesitate to contact us for an appointment.