How to Get The Most Out of Your Therapy Session
You have made a brave decision to better yourself by seeking therapy. While you should be proud of yourself for taking care of your mental health and taking the first step to reach out, there is still work to be done to make sure your time spent in counselling is as restorative as possible.
We know that beginning therapy can be scary, but it is your therapist’s duty to make sure that you feel at ease and to help you get the most out of your sessions. Being open and honest with your therapist about your motivations for attending and the feelings you experience during sessions will help you get the most out of therapy. However, its not as simple as showing up, you also need to put the work in so that you can reach your goal of mental wellness.
Here are our top 8 tips for getting the most out of your sessions:
Make sure your therapist is a good fit
Finding a therapist you like and trust is essential for treatment to be successful. Since therapy is a commitment, it’s essential to carefully consider your needs when it comes to your psychologist. Your therapist should be someone with whom you feel free to communicate openly with, expressing your innermost ideas and feelings without fear of rebuke or condemnation. You will likely feel most at ease with a therapist who you identify with.
Have a think about what you hope to get out of therapy
During your first session with your therapist, they’ll likely ask you why it is that you’re seeking therapy.
You can prepare by making notes about what you want to discuss and what you expect to accomplish in therapy. When it comes to any traumas you may have faced in your life, it’s sometimes vital to determine what you want to discuss and what you feel like expressing early on, since that’s some crucial information that therapists will want to know. It’s a good idea to write down any reservations you may have in advance about counselling so you can address them before you start.
Make sure you are well-equipped for your session
As a telehealth only practice, we provide people who might not have able to integrate mental health care into their busy schedules the option to be able to meet conveniently online with their therapist from any location.
However, so that your therapy time is not interrupted, it’s important to ensure beforehand that you have a good strong internet connection and a quiet private setting where you feel that you can freely express yourself. Wi-fi issues or walk-in interruptions can greatly disturb the flow of your session.
Have realistic expectations
It’s a frequent misconception that psychologists will give you advice and explain how to improve your life in the course of one or two sessions. That’s not how therapy works.
The most important thing to realise is that nothing will change or be repaired after only one counselling session. The key is to go into it expecting it to be beneficial and productive, and that your therapist will assist you to your own conclusions and help you to act for yourself, not make decisions for you.
Put the work in outside of your session
Some therapists may assign homework or suggest reflective activities for their clients to complete between sessions. These activities could include writing in a journal or reflecting on specific aspects of your life, keeping track of the times when topics covered in therapy resurface for you, or honing specific skills.
Nevertheless, even if the therapist doesn’t do this, writing down your experiences and keeping track of how your therapy sessions are manifesting in your life can be really helpful. It can be a useful practice for you so that you these thoughts to share with your therapist and discuss what may or may not be helping so that you can get the most out of your sessions.
Be prepared to step outside your comfort zone
An effective and good therapist will ensure you are challenged and helped to see a fresh perspective on things. At first, this may seem overwhelming, but your psychologist will teach you helpful techniques for handling challenging feelings or circumstances.
Therapy is typically a transition process, which involves transformation. Change can be difficult, and it may involve attempting something new, doing something for the first time, or trying out several new ways of thinking and doing to see what works best for you. Most of the actual work is done outside of therapy – by you – when you use these new techniques and skills.
Don’t be afraid to tell your therapist if something isn’t working
Keep in mind that you hired your therapist and likely you are paying for their time. If you disagree with your therapist’s approach or suggestions, let them know. It’s essential to express what is and is not working. Speak up if a therapy technique or homework assignment doesn’t make sense.
The greatest approach for your therapist to help you and get to know the real you is for you to be open and honest about your thoughts. If you’re worried that you’ll be judged, keep in mind that a knowledgeable, encouraging therapist won’t pass judgement. In fact, they’ll value your openness and interpret it as a sign of drive.
Practice good self-care between sessions
For some, therapy can be really challenging and cause a lot of distressing emotions, so it’s essential to be patient, practice self-compassion, and give yourself time to heal if things become too challenging. For these reasons, we don’t recommend arranging a session right before or right after a significant business meeting, presentation, or other occasion that can leave you feeling anxious and not in your best emotional state.
Plan some time to decompress after your session. Protect those 30-60 minutes following your session to give your body and mind time to heal. You may have cried or feel exhausted after the session. Some clients like to give themselves around 30-minutes after their session to sit and reflect on what was discussed.
What to Do If You’re Not Getting the Most Out of Therapy Sessions
The first person you should contact if you believe that your therapy has stopped being beneficial or no longer working, is your therapist. They might decide to alter their therapy strategy or approach, or they might look for new “homework” possibilities for you.
If things still don’t seem to be moving in the right direction, it’s possible that you and your therapist are not a good fit. And that’s totally OK. There are times when personalities just do not mesh. If so, don’t be afraid to switch things up and look for a different therapist who will be a better fit. At Positive Mind Works, we understand the importance of a good ‘match’ in order to ensure good therapeutic outcome. If you feel you would like to try another therapist on our team, we will ensure you are moved over right away and with no hard feelings. We can arrange for your notes to be transferred to the new therapist so that your transition is a smooth one.
Therapy is very beneficial however the process isn’t always linear. You get out of it what you put into it, just like many other things in life.
If you are looking to start therapy, we encourage you to reach out. Our team are experienced and registered psychologists with a wide range of expertise. We also speak several languages.
If you are not sure which psychologist on our team would be the best match for you, our lovely receptionists are there to help. They will ask you in three short words what it is that you are looking for help with, i.e., anxiety, depression or trauma and then use this information to match you with the psychologist on our team who has the most expertise in your area of concern.
Get in touch today to learn more. Call 1800 327 477 (AU) / 0800 327 477 (NZ) or click here to book online.