Effective psychotherapy requires a great deal of emotional, mental, and physical commitment so making the most of each session is important. You hired a therapist to guide you through the process and most clients see reduced symptoms when they are doing their part as well. The following suggestions can help you make the most out of your time with more or any therapist.
1. Make it all about you!
Therapy is your time so talk about you, your experience, your past, your present, and your future. Don’t get me wrong, there are times that its important to talk about others in your life, take other’s perspective to better understand a pattern and learn more adaptive ways to get what you want from relationships. However, this can sometimes blend into a “gossip” or venting session and when it feels this way, the therapy may be less effective because the truth is that for the vast majority of situations it will be much more effective to change your response rather try or wait for others to change for you.
2. Co-create your treatment plan
At the beginning, be open and honest about what your mental health issue(s) is(are). The best way to make progress in therapy is to collaborate with your therapist about your goals, have him/her help you identify realistic expectations about the types of changes to look for, how long it will take to get there, and how to sustain that change. Make your goals concrete and look for evidence to know that things are generally going in the right direction. Keep in mind that often things will get harder before they better. Ask your therapist to check in on your goals regularly to make sure that progress is being made, if not, why not, and make sure to make adjustments if needed.
3. The most effective change happens with weekly sessions
For the majority of mental health symptoms such as anxiety and depression, the most effective therapeutic change occurs by coming to therapy on a weekly basis. This allows you and your therapist to review your week and then spend time in session practicing new skills, making connections that have perpetuated issues, and learning new ways to go about your week to reduce your symptoms and increase your happiness. It’s important maintain a weekly session until your therapist determines that it’s okay to spread sessions out and practice the skills more independently.
A strong, healthy, enjoyable life is possible for everyone and doing your own personal work is completely worth it!
Stay tuned for more tips about how to make the most of your therapy sessions~