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Navigating the Rough Waters: What to Do When Therapy Starts to Feel Hard

The therapeutic journey is a transformative and empowering process, but it is not without its challenges. At times, therapy can evoke intense emotions, uncover buried wounds, and bring us face-to-face with uncomfortable truths. While these moments can be difficult, they are also essential for growth and healing.

In this blog post, we will explore what to do when therapy starts to feel hard, offering guidance and strategies to navigate the rough waters and continue on the path of self-discovery and well-being.

therapy journey

Acknowledge Your Emotions

When therapy starts to feel hard, it's essential to acknowledge and honor your emotions. Allow yourself to feel whatever arises without judgment. Embrace the vulnerability as an integral part of the healing process. Remember that it's okay to feel uneasy or overwhelmed; this is a natural part of the journey towards self-awareness and growth.

Try journaling about how you’re feeling or sharing with a friend. A guided meditation to explore and let yourself feel your feelings can also be helpful. I like this one: Soften, Soothe, Allow by Kristin Neff

Communicate with Your Therapist

Your therapist is your ally on this journey, and open communication is key. If you find therapy becoming difficult, share your feelings and concerns with your therapist. A skilled therapist will provide a safe and supportive space to discuss your experiences, explore concerns, and collaboratively find the best way to move forward.

Be Patient and Compassionate with Yourself

Be kind and patient with yourself as you navigate the challenges in therapy. It's okay to take things at your own pace and to acknowledge that healing is not always linear. Show yourself the same compassion and understanding you would offer a friend going through a tough time.

Identify Triggers and Patterns

When therapy feels hard, it can be helpful to identify triggers and patterns that are arising in sessions. Pay attention to recurring themes or reactions that feel particularly uncomfortable. Understanding these triggers can shed light on underlying issues and facilitate healing.

Check out this blogpost on implicit memories and how they influence our thoughts, emotions and behaviors.

Embrace Self-Care

During challenging moments in therapy, prioritize self-care. Engage in activities that bring you comfort and joy. Whether it's spending time in nature, journaling, or practicing mindfulness, self-care nurtures your well-being and provides a respite during times of difficulty.

"Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you." – Anna Lamott

Set Boundaries

Setting healthy boundaries is crucial when therapy starts to feel hard. If certain topics or discussions feel too overwhelming, communicate this to your therapist. They can adjust the pace and focus of sessions to ensure you feel supported and safe.

Lean on Your Support System

Outside of therapy, lean on your support system. Share your feelings with trusted friends or family members who can provide additional emotional support. Remember that you don't have to go through this journey alone.

Engage in Creative Expression

Engaging in creative expression can be a cathartic outlet for difficult emotions. Consider expressing yourself through writing, art, music, or any other form of creative expression that resonates with you.

Practice Mindfulness

During tough moments, mindfulness can help ground you in the present. Practice mindful breathing or other mindfulness techniques to stay present with your emotions and avoid getting overwhelmed by past or future concerns.

Check out this blogpost on mindfulness practices you can try today.

Trust the Process

Finally, trust in the therapeutic process. Embrace the discomfort as an opportunity for growth and healing. Remember that therapy is a journey, and even the hardest moments can lead to profound insights and positive changes.


When therapy starts to feel hard, remember that you are embarking on a journey of self-discovery and healing. Embrace the challenges as opportunities for growth and transformation. Communicate openly with your therapist, be patient with yourself, and practice self-compassion. Utilize support systems, engage in self-care, and trust the process. By navigating the rough waters with courage and resilience, you can unlock the full potential of therapy and experience profound personal growth.

Interested in starting your own therapeutic journey? Send an email today to get started


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