Showing up to a therapy session can be a great step towards taking charge of your mental health. Therapy requires time, money, and effort, so you want to maximize your investment. Work with your therapist to benefit fully from your therapy sessions. Here is what you need to do to get the most out of individual therapy sessions:
1. Choose Your Therapist Carefully
Most therapists specialize in specific demographics or issues. Some therapists specializations you may encounter in your search for a therapist include the following:
- Trauma therapists
- Behavioral therapists
- Clinical therapists
- Cognitive therapists
- Dialectical behavior therapists (DBTs)
Choose a therapist specializing in the particular issue you need help with and who works with clients in your demographic. Once you find a suitable therapist, book a session to test whether you are comfortable with them.
2. Know What You Want to Get Out of Therapy
During your initial therapy session, your therapist may want to know why you are in therapy to determine how best to help you. As you discuss this question with your therapist, your therapy goals may get clearer. Note what you want to discuss in therapy and what results you envision at the end of your treatment. Doing this can keep you focused on getting better.
Discuss any concerns you have during your first session so your therapist may know how to help you feel more comfortable. Prepare questions to ask your therapist beforehand. Your therapy goals may change over time, so be open to changing direction in your treatment when this happens.
3. View Therapy as a Joint Effort
Although your therapist is responsible for helping you, they can only treat you if you open up about your difficulties. Therapy can be a safe, judgment-free space, so feel free to share everything with your therapist. It might be hard to open up at first, but with time, you can adjust to the initial discomfort of sharing your experiences.
Treat individual therapy as a two-way interview between you and your therapist. Your therapist may ask you questions to guide you to what you need, and you can also ask them questions. The conversation between you and your therapist can flow better if you prepare some things you want to discuss beforehand and let your therapist know at the beginning of the session.
Your therapist may suggest exercises to help you deal with certain emotions or experiences. Implement those exercises daily or as prescribed. Your therapist may also help you develop goals to track your progress as you go through therapy.
4. Understand That Therapy Takes Time
The changes you seek in therapy happen one day at a time, so avoid rushing the process. Avoid beating yourself up when the desired change is not happening quickly enough. Keep doing the work even when there are no immediate results, and be kind to yourself. You may have to revisit a topic multiple times to see results.
Being vulnerable can make you feel drained, so you may not get much from your therapy sessions when you go into them already exhausted. It might feel like rescheduling a session slows your progress. Learn to be okay with rescheduling when you feel mentally or emotionally exhausted.
5. Be Open About Your Therapy Experience
There are many stereotypes and misconceptions about therapy. If you have internalized them, you may have negative emotions about therapy in your journey. Instead of pushing away these feelings, express them to your therapist so you can get help addressing them.
Therapists are trained to help clients address the stigmas surrounding therapy. Even if your family is critical of therapy, your therapist can teach you how to handle the negativity. Feel free to ask your therapist questions about your doctor-client relationship. Ask them what they think of your progress. Learn what you can do to get more from your sessions, and your therapist’s strategy for your treatment.
Seek Individual Therapy Today
Individual therapy can be a life-changing experience. What you get from your therapy sessions may depend on your approach to the treatment process. You may have much to gain from your therapy sessions when you are intentional about getting better and collaborating with your therapist on your treatment.