Therapy Can Help
Spending time with
your therapist can help you gain insight into your condition, your personality,
and solutions on how to improve your life. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s hard
to fit everything in during your visits—you may end a session thinking, “we
didn’t get to any of the subjects I wanted to discuss!”
Here are some easy
ways to make the most out of your regular therapy sessions. There are ways to
ensure that the issues you face get the time they need.
Your First Visit
First visits with
therapists often involve gathering information about you, your condition, and
your symptoms’ impact on your life. The more information you have readily
available for your therapist, the quicker he or she can begin to help you. Here
is some information you should be prepared to provide:
on your current symptoms
you’re seeking therapy
medications you are taking
Prepare for Each Visit
You should prepare
beforehand in order to maximize each session. Leave adequate time to get to
your appointment so you’re not rushed when you need to be relaxed. Abstain from
any alcohol or recreational drugs. Therapy is time to work on your problems,
not self-medicate your way through them.
Journaling and Keeping Track
Keeping a journal
could help jog your memory during your therapy sessions. Record your moods and
activities between sessions. Write down any problems you might have had or any
personal insights you might have. Then, review your journal entries before your
session or bring it with you.
Show Up to Share
The reason you go to
therapy is to help you solve problems. But you will have little success unless
you come ready to share your thoughts and emotions. This may include talking
about some painful or embarrassing memories. You may have to reveal parts of
your personality that you aren’t proud of. But your therapist is not there to
judge you. Discussing the issues that bother you most can help you either
change or learn to accept yourself.
Openness isn’t the
same as sharing. Openness means a willingness to answer your therapist’s
questions. It also means being open to revelations about yourself. This can
help you understand the way you act, the way you feel, and how you interact
with others. Being open allows you to share and take in what comes to you
Take Notes During Your Visit
Just as you should
take notes outside of therapy you should jot down any observations or
conclusions that you come to during therapy. This will enable you to review
what you worked on that day. The notes can serve as a reminder of the progress
you are making.
Ask Your Own Questions
Your therapist will
surely ask you many questions regarding events from your past and present life.
These questions are necessary to get an accurate picture of your circumstances.
In order to build trust, communication should work both ways. In other words,
ask questions if any come to you. It is important that your therapist work with
you to find answers to your questions. Keep your questions focused on your
symptoms, how they affect your daily functioning, and what can be done to
alleviate them. Personal questions for your therapist are not appropriate. It
is best for your therapist to maintain a professional boundary.
Take Time After a Session
Depending on what you
discussed with your therapist that day, you may have some intense emotions
running through you after a session. Try to plan a little down time after each
session to give yourself time to calmly collect your thoughts and absorb what
just happened. Spending some time taking notes in your journal about your
reactions, or even sitting down to be alone with your thoughts, can be very
Revisit the Session
Before your next
session, go over your notes from your past session. Revisit what you talked
about, and start to think about what you’d like to address in your next
session. The insight gained from the sessions shouldn’t be limited to the
therapist’s office. Make sure you think about your progress during the days
before your next session.