How to Get the Greatest Benefit from Therapy
Busy lives lead to scheduling conflicts, but you’ll get the most out of treatment by making it a high priority to attend. Rather than simply cancelling a session, make every effort to reschedule appointments quickly. If rescheduling just won’t work, ask your therapist for an action or behavior that you can undertake. Homework doesn’t replace therapy, but it can reinforce it.
Be Open During Sessions
Therapists are trained to read non-verbal clues and to interpret silences, but the best way to gain the greatest benefit from these meetings is for you to talk and be transparent. Even if you are experiencing negative emotions about therapy, expressing those feelings will be useful. Tell your counselor if you feel you are being rushed, not heard, hurt or simply overwhelmed. Such discussions can be intimidating because they aren’t pleasant, but remember that your therapist is committed to being a safe person in your life. As you talk through difficult topics in the sessions it will help you to build skills for having difficult conversations with others.
Take Intermediate Steps Between Sessions
People usually initiate therapy because they are dissatisfied with something in their lives or themselves. Openness in the counseling session is important, but at some point changes need to start in your everyday life. Because change is hard many people find it helpful to join a group therapy session in addition to their individual counseling. Group meetings give you a place to talk about implementing what you learn, and you get to hear from others how they are translating information into practical steps.
Supplement Sessions with Self-Care and Self-Examination
It sounds so simple, but taking care of yourself will enhance your therapy. Get enough sleep. Eat healthy meals at regular intervals. Schedule times for physical activity. When your mind and body are at their best you will see and feel the difference.
Another way to augment therapy is through contemplation. Give yourself time to think about what you discuss with the therapist. Write down your thoughts and insights. It can also be helpful to do some outside reading on areas that you have identified with the therapist.
As you take charge of your own wellness you’ll be primed to receive the most from your therapy appointments.