I have even had a patient discontinue therapy, supposedly because of work commitments, to come back later during a difficult time and tell me, "I stopped coming because I felt like I was boring."
Listen up! Boring is not, necessarily, a reason to stop therapy. In fact, if you feel that you are bored with your therapy sessions, it is important that you discuss this with your therapist.
Don't be embarrassed by boredom
Boredom may be a sign of progression, which is a good thing. It may also mean that something isn't working quiet right and it's important that your therapist is aware of it so changes can be made.
What do you mean by boredom? Are you struggling to find things to talk about? Are your presenting concerns or symptoms no longer an issue? The better you can identify what it is you are feeling, the easier it will be for the therapist to point you in the right direction.
Boredom defined: Are you stuck?
Being stuck in therapy means not making an progress; the strategies and / or interventions aren't working and you may be feeling frustrated with this lack of progression. Defining boredom this way may lead to a change in approach or strategy on the part of a therapist, or sometimes, a referral to someone who is better equipped to help you.
Boredom defined: Do you feel bad talking about your pain, when you are sure some people have it much worse?
This may sound like a ridiculous idea to some of you, but for many, this is a real concern. Many individuals feel guilty about experiencing sadness and anxiety when there isn't anything significantly wrong in their life.
If you believe this to be true, let me remind you of a few things -
- There are biological reasons why we feel anxious and depressed. Sometimes, in the absence of triggers, we experience symptoms just because of the way our brain is wired.
- Triggers are in the eye of the beholder. Something that makes me sad and depressed or anxious and worried may not seem like a big deal to anyone else, but they don't have to. Everyone is on their own journey in life, and what brings me down may be different for you. Also, the very thoughts that drive anxiety and depression are by definition, irrational. So they can't possibly, and do not have to, make sense to anyone else.
Boredom defined: Have you reached all of your therapy goals?
One reason why you may feel bored in your therapy sessions is because you've already reached your therapy goals. Maybe you are no longer feeling depressed and are now better able to cope with anxiety. If so, congratulations on your accomplishment! Your therapist may help you decide if there are new or additional goals to work towards, or if therapy sessions should be moved to more of a maintenance or check-in schedule, or terminated altogether.
Boredom defined: Is there a good match between you and your therapist?
The dynamic between you and your therapist is an important one. You should feel comfortable and connected. The point is to be relaxed enough to let your defenses down, and to speak openly and honestly. It is important that your therapist's approach both personally and professionally makes you feel at ease.
Personally, is he / she laid back? Genuinely empathetic? Does he / she ask insightful questions, or talk too much?
Professionally, does his / her approach to therapy make sense to you logically?
Boredom defined: Is it time to scale back (or discontinue) therapy sessions?
If you have made steady progress towards your therapeutic goals, and your sessions now seem stale, it may be time to scale back the frequency in which you see your therapist. It is not uncommon to reach a maintenance phase in therapy; where you do not have much to report week to week, but still benefit from a check-in, a brush-up on skills, or from having someone hold you accountable to continue working on your goals, decreasing session frequency may be a good idea. Patients typically move from weekly to bimonthly to monthly appointments before discontinuing treatment.
As you work through this maintenance schedule, you may accomplish your therapeutic goals as well as take care of triggers, situations or environments that have caused you distress. This may be the time to consider the possibility of being finished with psychotherapy at this time.
Regardless of the reason for feeling bored or stuck in therapy, this is often a natural part of the therapeutic process. Chances are your therapist has already picked up on this, so be sure to bring up your feelings and concerns. You and your therapist can come up with a plan for action.