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How to Get the Most Out of Therapy

Asking questions and setting goals will help you get the most out of your therapy sessions.

Here's how to get the most out of therapy.

How to Get the Most Out of Therapy - Chris Massman.png

How to Get the Most Out of Therapy

If you have decided to go to therapy, you have taken the first step towards healing. You have shown bravery in reaching out for help.

Waiting for your first appointment can make you feel anxious, simply because you do not know what to expect. You may be wondering what questions the therapist will ask, what information you will be asked to share, and if you will be able to trust the therapist.

You may even wonder if therapy will help you. Believe it or not, the answer to this question depends mostly on you and how receptive you are to change.

There are specific things you can do to get the most out of therapy. Following the below suggestions will help you reap the most benefits.

Find the Right Therapist

You do not want to just open the phonebook and choose the first therapist who catches your eye. A therapist is a person you are going to share very personal information with so they can support you in developing a plan that will change your life for the better.

If you are trying to cope with relationship problems, it is essential you seek help from a relationship counselor. If you are struggling with addiction, choose an addiction counselor.

Match your problems with a specialist who has a track record of resolving those types of problems.

Ask Questions

It is important you understand what therapy means to your therapist. Ask them to explain the process of therapy to you so you can ensure you are both on the same page with your expectations. You may be thinking you will be healed in one session, which is unrealistic, when your therapist may expect you to see you six to ten weeks, a much more reasonable time frame according to that particular therapist.

Ask your therapist about their counseling style, what type of participation they expect from you, cost and fee options, and the therapeutic techniques they will use. Preferably, your therapist will utilize many different methods in treating you, since no two people are the same.

Set Goals with Your Therapist

It will be extremely hard for you to know if you are making progress if you are not measuring it. Setting goals, both long-term and short-term, are the perfect way to measure success. Goals will vary in simplicity, time, and sometimes they include other people like a partner, parent or friend.

Goals must be realistic in nature, however. They must be achievable so that you have an opportunity for success. Once you reach your goals, you and your therapist can set new goals and find appropriate ways to celebrate your successes.

Work Outside of Your Therapy Session

You will likely only be in therapy for fifty minutes each week. However, your therapy does not end after fifty minutes. Instead, it begins after your session with your counselor. Between sessions is when you will implement the suggestions and plans you developed.

You must be proactive in your own healing. This means you are responsible for taking the advice you gain and implementing into your life to promote positive changes. It is also important to take note of things that do not work.

Sharing both positive and negative outcomes with your therapist will help you make changes to your treatment plan if needed.

Know Therapeutic Roles

Both you and your therapist have a role in therapy. You are not there to become friends, however, build a trusting relationship. How can you trust someone with all your intimate life details and not become their friend?

This may seem difficult. However, if you keep in mind that your therapist is more like an employee you have hired. You have hired them to complete a service for you. For example as if you were to hire a mechanic to fix your car. They are going to see everything in your car, fix the problems with your car, charge you a fee to fix your car, and then send you out into the world with a new, safe, more effective improved running vehicle.

Therapists are obtained to help resolve issues or problems that influence your mental health, lifestyle or relationships to look for effective solutions.   Each week you will brainstorm and process ideas to look for effective solutions to send you back out into the world having made improvements to your life.

Focus on Yourself

Therapy is about doing what you can do to change yourself, your situation and your outcomes. Therapy is not a place to spend an hour blaming others for your problems. Remember, we can not change others because their behaviors are out of our control.

However, we can change the way we react to others.

It is important to spend the time you have with your therapist to focus on improving your thoughts, feelings and actions. In doing so, you will notice your environment and others around you changing too.

For example, if you choose not to engage in a fight with your spouse, they will find it hard to continue fighting. Once everyone is calm, then you can discuss the issue without the anger. Eventually, the communication style between you and your spouse can change for the better.

Work on changing the things that are in your control of and you will see positive change faster.

In conclusion, the advantages of therapy far outweigh the disadvantages. Remember, your time is just as important as your therapist’s time, it is essential to show up for appointments. If you do not show up, you cannot receive help.

Showing up on time and participating in your session will help you gain as much knowledge, tips, suggestions and insight.

Finally, let the real you show up. Your therapist will not judge you. Your therapy room should be a warm, safe environment, free of judgment where you should feel safe to open up and be free to be just who you are, YOU!

Photo by Dino Reichmuth