Whether you are coming for therapy related to childhood trauma/abuse, couples counseling, family counseling or therapy for depression, anxiety, substance abuse, or chronic illness there are a few points to consider for getting the most out of your therapy:
- Make your appointments a priority. If you have ever learned a new skill, like playing an instrument, cooking, or a sport, then you know that consistent practice is key to improving and excelling. You also know that it is very challenging to learn new things but once mastered that thing is glorious! In therapy you will learn all sorts of new interpersonal relationship skills for improved relationships and better self-esteem, and you will learn how to decrease symptoms related to mood and substance abuse. But getting better requires consistency and practice. Attending every appointment is going to get you the best results as quickly as possible. When you make appointments a priority, you improve and you even excel.
- Be willing to take risks and try new things. Anytime you are taught a new way of doing something, like holding a new baby or golf club, it feels awkward or even wrong. I am going to teach you things that feel unnatural and you may feel uncomfortable at first. Trust me, with practice and time what you learn will become second nature and you will do what was once awkward without even thinking about it. My most successful clients show an eagerness and curiosity about what they are learning and follow through with recommendations between sessions.
- Take responsibility for your mental health. If you went to your doctor and when asked, “What brings you in today?” you shrug and say very little, you would leave that appointment without having your needs met. The most successful clients come to therapy committed to honestly sharing their fears, shattered dreams, guilt and shame, and hope for the future. Put some real thought behind what you hope to accomplish in therapy and verbalize your goals in session. Also, when in session take notes (either on paper or mentally) and keep those notes front and center in between sessions to help motivate you to do your part on this journey.
- Give direct and honest feedback. Let’s face it, therapy can be costly. Being in therapy that is ineffective is a colossal waste of time and resources. I rely on your honest feedback to help you feel better. Please do not be afraid of hurting my feelings. When you tell me what is or is not working, I have the opportunity to further tailor your therapy to benefit you. And then you get better faster.