For a lot of people therapy has become an integral part of their lives. They’ve nurtured a close relationship with their therapists and going to therapy sessions holds no secrets to them anymore. Having a therapist is no longer a taboo these days, as we’ve come to accept that taking care of our mental health is just as important as taking care of our physical health. However, some people are still reluctant and the idea of sharing their most intimate thoughts and problems with a stranger is not as appealing to them.
For those who have never seen a therapist and are not in the least familiar with this form of self-care, what goes on during a therapy session remains a mystery. This gives birth to a million questions and concerns, and without any clue on what to expect except what they’ve seen in movies, individuals fear they’re not going to make any progress or that therapy is simply not for them. As a result, a lot of patients give up before they see any results or don’t even give therapy a chance.
While each person’s experience with therapy is unique, it’s important to let go of preconceived notions and prepare yourself a bit in order to make the most of your therapy sessions. Here we’re going to share some strategies that will help you on your journey.
Choose the right therapist
No matter how desperate you are about starting therapy, it’s never a good idea to rush in. Take your time and do a bit of research before you choose a therapist. Start by considering what kind of therapy would suit you best and then search for professionals in that area of expertise. When you evaluate different therapists, it’s important to take into consideration not only their credentials and referrals, but also the way they make you feel. Talking with each of them over the phone will give you an idea of what to expect. After you’ve decided on a therapist, it’s time to give it a shot. Don’t wait for miracles, be patient and give it at least three sessions to make sure you’ve made the right choice. If it becomes clear to you things are not going to work out, you should search for a new therapist.
Find a suitable schedule
Therapy is not something you can squeeze in between countless meetings and appointments on a busy work day. If you want it to work and reap the benefits of going to therapy, you must give it your full attention. Keep that in mind when you schedule your sessions. If you know you’re going to have a busy day ahead of you, it’s better to reschedule and find a time when you won’t be as overwhelmed with other issues. You must be present and stay focused in your therapy sessions, and allow your mind to process what happened while you were there.
Create a connection with your therapist
You must be aware there are two persons involved in the therapy process: you and your therapist. You must work together as a team in order to achieve the best results, so you should try to create a connection with your therapist. Therapists don’t hold all the answers or the knowledge to solve your problems; they can merely guide you towards finding the root cause of your issues and facilitate your healing journey. That’s why you must view therapy as collaboration between you and your therapist.
Be open about your issues
Therapy is the place where you can and should say all the things that cross your mind. There’s no room for censorship in therapy, as that can stop you from exploring your issues thoroughly and hinder your progress. When you talk to your therapist, you should be completely honest about your thoughts and feelings and approach any topic that seems important to you. You can discuss anything you want, be it personal problems, the way you feel about therapy in general or even how you feel about your therapist’s methods of treatment.
Face your fears
The whole point of going to therapy is to help you deal with your personal struggles and eventually make you feel better. However, that can’t be done unless you’re willing to do the work and face what you’re most afraid of. Most times, it’s not a comfortable process, but rather a bumpy journey that involves coming face to face with aspects that you dread. But that’s what the path to healing looks like. If you want anything to change, you must allow yourself to feel the pain and explore those parts of you that you’ve been running from. That’s when the true healing begins.
Keep a journal
Many people feel like they’re not making any progress in their therapy sessions. It’s not easy to quantify the progress made in therapy as it’s not a linear process. You’ll experience both growth and setbacks, and that’s absolutely normal. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see the changes you were expecting or if you’re going through a period of stagnation. An effective way to analyze your journey and get a clear overall picture of your time in therapy is to keep a journal. You can write in it impressions from your therapy sessions or anything therapy related to document the process. This will help you track your evolution and evaluate your progress.
Do your homework
The work you do in therapy doesn’t end when you leave your therapist’s office. It’s not something you only think about during your session. Therapy is meant to give you the tools to overcome your problems and help you improve your life. You’ve got to take the things you’ve learned there and apply them in the real world. Analyze your thoughts and behaviours, practice mindfulness and put the theory into practice. Therapy is the gateway to healing, but it’s up to you to put one foot in front of the other and create the change you want to see in your life.