If you have decided to take the first steps into therapy and you want to make sure that you get the most out of your therapy sessions to support your mental health, then good for you.
It can be incredibly daunting to start therapy, and for some people, it can take them years to pluck up the courage to walk into that therapy room and start talking about their lives and be their most authentic selves.
Today, we will discuss how therapy sessions work, and what you can do to make each therapy session a productive and positive one that will help you move through your everyday life with a brighter outlook and a calmness within your inner world.
Why is Therapy Important?
In recent years, going to therapy has grown quite a lot.
People are looking to better themselves as well as find ways to proactively work through issues that have been holding them down and affecting their mental health.
We all have issues that will affect how we act and who we are at our core, therapy is there to help open our eyes to how else we can respond to incidents in our lives as well as give us tips for getting through day-to-day life.
What is a Good Therapeutic Relationship?
When you work with a therapist, you need to feel like that therapy relationship with them is the right one for you with a strong support system.
Finding the right therapist can take some time, you will not always get the right one straight away, and you may have to try out different types of therapy to find the best outcome for you and your mental health.
There are all different sorts of therapists available, whether you would like to work with a licensed clinical social worker or a clinical psychologist, depending on what you need help with, it is your therapy journey, so don’t just focus on one type of therapy.
You may find that you feel more comfortable with online therapy sessions than one on one sessions, it varies for everybody, so don’t believe that you will get the same results as others with the therapy they have done.
What do You Want to Get Out of Therapy?
In your first therapy session during your initial consultation, your therapist will ask you what you personally would like to get out of these therapy sessions and what your goals are.
Do you want to combat anxiety or depression? Want a better relationship with your spouse/family members? Want to just be your most authentic self?
Whatever it is, think about this beforehand so you can tell them exactly what you want and how you would like to move forward.
Your first session can be nerve-wracking, but a good therapist will help you feel comfortable and walk you through the therapeutic process so you can feel comfortable and calmer about taking the next steps.
Decide What Type of Therapist You Want to See
When it comes to deciding the type of therapy you want, there is a lot out there that you can try out to see which fits.
Depending on how seriously you need to see someone, you will want to choose the route on which to get there, for example, if you are happy to pay for your counseling session/sessions then you may want to check out private practice therapists.
If you are okay to wait and you don’t want to pay, or you don’t have the money to pay, then you can be put on a waiting list for therapy sessions at a local centre.
The waiting list will vary, but you could be waiting up to a year before you are seen.
You will also normally have a set number of sessions to be seen in, and if you want more, then you might have to reapply.
This includes all types of therapy such as EMDR, CBT, talk therapy, and so on.
How to Get The Most Out of Therapy
If you are aware of what kind of therapy you are looking for as well as the type of therapist, then now is the time to set out how you can get the most out of therapy to support your well-being and make positive changes in your life.
Therapy will provide you with a lot of self-reflection which can shake you up a bit from the initial session, so be prepared for those feelings to come as you can feel worse before you feel better.
Don’t Keep Things to Yourself
Therapy is there for you to be who you are at your core, you are there to open up and get the help you seriously need.
It is scary to open completely up, and it is perfectly acceptable to feel all those emotions at once and take your time actually saying what you want to say, but once you are in there, you need to keep going once you start expressing your thoughts and feelings.
Everything is fair game in therapy, you can speak about anything and nothing, whatever is on your mind that day or week.
Let Them Know if You Are Having Trouble
Talk to your therapist if you are having trouble opening up to them about what you are going through.
It is a safe space for you to open up, and they will let you know that so you can feel reassurance.
They might be able to provide you with some assertiveness skills to help you open up more and stick to what you need to say without backing down.
Don’t Feel Like You Need to be Polite
This is not to say that you should be rude to your therapist at all, it means that you shouldn’t sit there reserved without expressing the emotions you need to.
Let yourself go and show what you need to, this is an environment where therapists see and hear a lot, what you are saying is probably not new to them at all.
It’s Okay to Disagree
If you believe that your therapist is setting unrealistic expectations of you, or you disagree with something that they have said, you can speak up and let them know that you disagree.
They are not going to be angry at you for saying what’s on your mind.
If you feel like this type of therapy and therapist is not exactly working for you, you can look for a different therapist to help you with your problems.
Therapy works if you are able to feel that bond with the therapist, so they may not be the one for you.
Don’t Think That You Will be ‘Cured’
People who start therapy may believe that once they start they will be able to be so much better afterward and be cured of their panic attacks or shyness, etc.
Therapy is there to get to the root of the issue and figure out why you are feeling this way and what can be done to help alleviate those symptoms over time.
Your Journey is Your Own
You are not broken, you are not a burden that needs to be cured.
Therapy is there to help you manage what you are going through, so when it comes to an issue cropping up again, you can better handle it or you are able to shorten your reaction.
Take care of yourself and what you are dealing with, don’t set goals that may not be completely managed, start small, and work your way up.
Don’t Focus on The Clock
One thing that can rush you during your sessions is constant clock-watching.
When you are in that therapy room, you need to make sure that you are present and ready to listen and talk things through.
You Might Need to Change Your Therapist
Good therapy will keep you engaged once you are there, so if you are distracted too much and can’t seem to stay focused on what is going on, then this therapy is not really for you and you will need to think about moving on to something or someone else.
Schedule it at a Time That Suits You
Don’t rush yourself to your therapy session or feel like you have to have it on a specific day that doesn’t actually suit you right.
You need to go to therapy with an open mind to talk things through, that can’t happen if you are feeling rushed because you have just finished work or you need to get back to work.
Schedule it for times and days that aren’t too full on so you can feel happy about being there and you are not thinking of other things.
Weekends May be The Best
Some therapy sessions can be done on the weekends if they allow that timeframe, so if this is a better thing for you to do, then look at going on a Saturday or Sunday, this will help take the pressure off you and stop you from worrying so much.
Therapy is something that can help so many people with issues they are dealing with, it may not be for everyone, but most people will see the benefit.
Now that you know how to get the most out of therapy, hopefully, you feel like you can take those next steps and work towards stepping up for yourself and doing what you can to feel content with who you are and what you go through.