Therapy is a process. There’s no magic time frame for how long it will last. However, there can be some really effective things you can do to make sure you are getting the most out of the time and money you are investing to see improvements in your life. Here are five things you can do to get the most out of therapy.
Find a therapist that specializes in the reason why you are seeking therapy.
Everyone is a generalist, but a specialist has specific knowledge and training for exactly what you need. There are therapists who specialize in trauma, chronic pain, sexual issues, postpartum depression, eating disorders, etc. Therapists have a vast amount of training, but no one is trained in every specialization that someone may need. Always remember that the relationship between you and your therapist is the most important part of therapy.
Come to your therapy session on time.
If you want to get the most out of your time, make sure you use all the time you’ve been given.
Come to your therapy session prepared with what you want to dig into.
Checking in about your week is fine if that makes you feel more comfortable in easing into the session. But try to limit this if it isn’t an important component to what you would like to explore.
Make goals for yourself.
These goals will probably change throughout the course of your time in therapy, but having goals can help you know what to address in each session. Sessions don’t have to pick up where they left off from the week before. Hopefully, clients are going home, reflecting and putting their thoughts into some kind of forward action. You are continuing the session with yourself throughout the week so you can check in with your therapist about how it went and build on that.
Keep working between sessions.
One of my hopes for my client’s is that they will be able to eventually leave therapy as their own therapist. They will be able look at their own thoughts, patterns of behaviors, relationships and emotions with curiosity rather than judgment. That client’s will be able to reflect and pause before going straight to the negative or making impulsive decisions. Sometimes, a therapist collaborates with a client to clearly define what the practice or “homework” will be at the end of the session. Others leave it up to the client. This takes practice. It may mean journalling between sessions, practicing mindfulness skills, catching and re-framing thoughts or writing down questions to answer for themselves later. The more you practice anything, the better you get at it.
Of course, there are other things that you can do to get the most out of your therapy. This is just a start. It is not the job of the therapist to make someone feel better. It is the collaboration with a therapist through the client’s own initiative that really makes a difference.
If you’re ready to take the next in starting therapy. I’d love to hear from you. Contact me today.
Please note that this article is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice from a doctor or mental health professional.