Caring for your mental health is incredibly important. For many individuals, therapy is a way to prioritize their mental health. It can help improve mental and emotional well-being, provide support through life transitions, and make people feel empowered.
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your therapy sessions.
Take the Time to Find the Right Therapist
The therapist-client relationship is key to effective therapy. Therapists have different credentials, approaches, and specialties. Do your research, and reach out to a few therapists you’d like to talk with. Be sure to ask these questions.
- Do they accept your insurance?
- Is their appointment availability suitable with your schedule?
- What is their therapeutic approach?
- Do they have experience with clients who have had similar problems or therapeutic goals?
If you are able, consider trying a session with each therapist.
It may take time to find the right person, but it’s important that you feel comfortable talking with them. Listen to your intuition. If you don’t connect, it’s best to find another therapist.
Goal-setting is key to ensure that you and your therapist are aligned. Goals also help to measure your progress. It’s fair to wonder if therapy is working. Setting specific, concrete goals helps to measure if therapy is effective for you.
Work to create SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals so that it is very clear what you are working towards. Be realistic.
Therapy should be prioritized just like work, school, and other responsibilities. Consistency is key. Work with your therapist to set a schedule, and do your best to stick to it. Missing an appointment can impede your progress.
If you have scheduling concerns, ask if teletherapy is an option. One of the advantages of online therapy is that it’s convenient and easily accessible. This is a good alternative if you can’t make an in-person session. Teletherapy may even be the preferred option for your schedule.
Put in the Work
Many therapeutic approaches, including cognitive behavioral therapy, include homework. You may need to complete worksheets or journal in between sessions. Homework serves a few important purposes:
- Allows for progress and continuity in between sessions
- Reinforces skills or helps you practice new skills
- Creates time for self-reflection
If you’re concerned about homework or commitments outside of therapy, discuss this with your therapist in your first session.
Don’t Censor Yourself
Therapy should be a safe space where you can feel comfortable and vulnerable. However, it’s normal to feel like you’re being judged and censor yourself. Be honest. Voice your frustrations. Don’t hold back with your therapist.
Additionally, don’t be afraid to talk about the “small” thoughts or feelings, the things that don’t seem worth talking about. These small thoughts can often lead to significant progress.
If you are beginning therapy, use these tips to ensure you get the most out of your experience.
These tips can also help if you’ve been feeling stuck in therapy. Be honest with yourself and your therapist about why therapy may feel ineffective. Use this advice as a way to check in and stay accountable.
Looking for outpatient mental health services? Pyramid Healthcare provides therapy for individuals with substance use and mental health disorders. We also provide teletherapy through BlueJeans, a HIPAA compliant video conferencing tool. Contact Pyramid to learn more about in-person and online therapy.
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