Seeking psychological help or going to therapy is a serious, committed and long-term process. When one is suffering from long-term serious issues, it is important to seek regular help more than just once a week. If you really want to improve yourself and achieve the long-term benefits of therapy it is important to initially start by giving it more than one hours-time a week.
It is natural to feel nervous or hesitant while starting the process of therapy.
Here are some small tips to help you make the most out of your therapy sessions.
1. Be honest-
Therapy is supposed to be a completely safe and confidential environment. Hence, it is important to be honest about what you’re thinking and feeling. The best way for your therapist to get to know the real you and to help you is for you to be completely honest about what you’re thinking. If you’re worried about feeling judged, remember that a good therapist is not there to make judgments. Just be your authentic self.
2. Try to trust your therapist-
This is a difficult step. It is important to make sure you give yourself enough time to trust your therapist and the counselling process. Also, as you move through the process, don’t be afraid to continue talking about any feeling you might have around trust between you and your therapist.
3. Being regular-
Therapy can’t help you overnight. Many people use their sessions as a sounding board to explore new ideas and find new ways to cope. It’s hard to change a behavior or your thinking overnight. You can’t expect yourself to move so quickly. Hence, it is important for you to be regular and to devote a few hours for therapy every week to allow yourself to experiment what is or is not working for you.
4. Ask questions-
It is important for you to ask your therapist doubts or questions you might be having related to something. This will definitely help facilitate the counselling sessions and clear misunderstandings if any. Asking questions might open new doors to topics or conversations you had not thought about and this will help you gain more from your therapy sessions.
5. Take responsibility and do tasks assigned-
Your therapist may assign you some homework tasks in between sessions to help you gain insight into yourself. Successful therapy relies on completing assignments outside of sessions to reinforce learning and practice newly acquired skills in real-world settings (Mausbach et al., 2010). Hence, it is important to be regular in homework assignments to get the most out of therapy sessions.
6.Your therapist might be wrong-
It is important that your therapist does not misunderstand you. If you feel your therapist might have understood something wrong, talk to them and clarify it. If you feel something other than what your therapist is suggesting might be good for you, run it by them and see if you both could work on it together. Effective communication is the key to a successful counselling relationship.
7. Make a list of goals you want to work on –
Think about what you want to work on and get out of your therapy sessions. It may seem obvious but most therapists will start by asking you about the kind of issues you’re currently facing or why you are seeking therapy in the first place.
In such cases, it might be helpful to make a list of the things you want to discuss with your therapist or what you want from therapy. This will make the process much easier for you.
8. Keep an open mind-
Go to your therapy sessions being open-minded. You might cry or experience many emotions in your first few sessions. Don’t be too harsh on yourself. Let it all out. That’s what therapy is for.
The bottom line here is that therapy requires hard work and effort. Positive changes or outcomes don’t happen immediately. Following these points itself shows that you are willing to put in the effort and that is what matters the most. Give yourself and the process some time to make it work effectively.
- Mausbach, B. T., Moore, R., Roesch, S., Cardenas, V., & Patterson, T. L. (2010). The relationship between homework compliance and therapy outcomes: An updated meta-analysis. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 34(5), 429–438.