Therapy is not cheap. It requires resources. Both time and money, obviously. But in order for it to be as effective as possible, it requires your energy and attention.
I think therapy can benefit most people, regardless of how well or how poorly life seems to be going. Increasingly, people are coming to therapy to be proactive about their mental health or the health of their relationships. I love this because every person, couple, family that invests in themselves in that way supports better physical health, relationship satisfaction and overall well being for themselves and those around them.
While simply engaging in therapy is a big step and can be very helpful, it’s important to understand that the degree to which you benefit is very much within your control.
Here are 3 ways you can get the most out of therapy:
ONE: Follow through with recommendations from your therapist
If your therapist teaches you a strategy to manage a symptom or difficulty coming up, there is a really good reason for it. Many skills therapists teach to manage depression, anxiety, stress or communication issues have proven research behind them. Even if the skill seems simple.
If you don’t think that strategy will help, ask your therapist why your therapist thinks that skill will be helpful to you. The worst thing you can do is say “Ok”, then never try it. Honestly, that’s akin to taking a percentage of what you paid for your session and putting it into a shredder. I don’t think you would do that.
If you think you might have a hard time implementing the strategy, tell your therapist. That way you guys can find something you can do. Doing things that are inconvenient, uncomfortable or not natural to you are usually required for getting different results.
One hundred percent of my clients who reach their goals in therapy have done so because they actually implemented the things we discussed in session. That can be you too.
TWO: Be open to seeing something about yourself you didn’t know
Your therapist went through a lot of training to be able to offer accurate reflections. If you trust your therapist and feel aligned with the way they work, make it a point to really consider what they are reflecting back to you. Even (and especially) if you don’t like it.
My therapist says surprising things to me regularly. She’s known me for over 15 years. She supports me and helps me find compassion for myself in difficult moments. And, she also reflects back to me things I didn’t think were true about myself. She did it last week. And, you know what? I really appreciate that. I don’t lash out at her. I don’t argue. I simply take what she says and take my time to consider if what she said is really true about me.
Want to take it a step further? Notice patterns that regularly come up in your life. It might be a reaction you regularly have to your child, partner, parent or coworker. You might find yourself repeatedly involved in certain circumstances. Bring what you notice to your therapist and ask for their help in seeing what you could learn about yourself from those patterns.
Those patterns are coming up repeatedly for a reason: there is something that is being shown to you so you can learn to do it differently and grow…maybe to grow closer to what you really want.
THREE: Take a couple of minutes after your session to write down some key insights
Sometimes those insights are hard won. Don’t let them simply float away. Not only that, continue your self reflection between sessions. Make sure to put those insights to work.
You don’t go to a trainer once a week and expect to reach a healthy weight or get stronger. You go to learn the exercises and the skills, then you practice on your own to reach your goals. Same with therapy.
Are you getting the most out of your investment?
I want you to. So does your therapist.
Not seeing a therapist and thinking about getting started? Contact us.