As human beings, it is in our nature to look to others for advice, a listening ear, and help through certain life moments and feelings. For many people around the U.S., this comes in the form of therapy. While there are specific forms of therapy out there for many kinds of situations, it is important that you want to make sure you are making the most out of your personal situation and choice to go to therapy sessions. Here are seven tips from Cognitive Psychiatry to help you get the most out of therapy.
1. ASK YOURSELF WHAT YOUR END GOAL IS
Before you commit to a certain therapist for your sessions, ask yourself what you want. What is your end goal? What is your problem and what do you need help with? By taking the time to do this self-assessment, you will be clearer on the kind of results you would like to see, and more dedicated and focused on the process.
2. ASK FOR REFERRALS
It is very hard to read a therapist’s method and if this method and their personality will complement yours from a website page or brochure, so ask around. Talk to someone who has actually worked with the therapist or ask them who they would recommend.
3. FIND A SUITABLE THERAPEUTIC RELATIONSHIP
Not every style or practice will work best for you, and ultimately, you are the only one who can find what methods will work best for you, so trust yourself. Ask a therapist for a brief description of their methods and try to gauge how you feel speaking with them before you commit to a series of sessions.
4. BE OPEN MINDED
Therapy is a process, and getting to where you want to be is a series of stepping stones, try to be open minded to what your therapist suggests or tells you. Some techniques and exercises may make you uncomfortable, but you have to trust that your therapist knows what they are doing and have done this before.
5. BE OPEN, DIRECT AND HONEST
It does neither you, nor your therapist any good in your therapeutic process if you are not completely honest throughout your sessions. If you are uncomfortable with an exercise, express that. If you have some feelings you might be ashamed of or are unsure if you should express, bring them out into the open. The more honest you are with your therapist, the better understanding they will have of you, your situations, and the steps that need to follow.
6. WRITE IT DOWN
You have to understand that your end goal with your therapy sessions will not be achieved overnight. Focus and practice the things you talk about in your sessions, outside of them as well. Write down how you are feeling and take notes between sessions to bring up with your therapist next time you see them. The more you make your therapy apart of your daily life, the easier and more routine the process with feel.
7. REALIZE THINGS CAN SOMETIMES GET WORSE BEFORE THEY GET BETTER
After a few sessions of opening up and talking about feelings, the past, and painful memories can stir up your emotions and sometimes be overwhelming. You may start to work on one problem that really gets in touch with a deeper problem you weren’t even aware of. Don’t get discouraged and never give up trying to attain that end goal with your therapy. Some sessions will be very difficult, and breakthroughs will sometimes seem unachievable, but stay positive and continue your sessions with motivated drive. Make sure to give yourself some credit for how far you have come, go easy on yourself and enjoy the breakthroughs. They will come!
Live Mentally Healthy,
Cognitive Psychiatry of Chapel Hill