I have a friend who is in therapy and when she first started, she sent me memes about how she was going to do so great in therapy, and her therapist was going to be very impressed. What I appreciated about my friend sending these memes, other than having a good laugh, is that I know people want to do a good job in therapy, not to impress me necessarily but because I know they want to get better. People want their healing journey to be like a math test, where they can study and then know the “right” answer to feel better. And I really wish healing was that simple but it’s not. It’s not that simple, because humans are not simple, and our lives and our stories are not simple either.
The good news is, that after many years in working with hundreds of people in their healing journeys, I have learned some things that will help you get the most out of your work in therapy. Here are some things to keep in mind once you have an appointment and before your first session:
Therapy is like dating, you might have to see more than one to find one you like.
As a therapist, I understand the thought of seeing more than one therapist until you find the right fit is daunting! It’s difficult to even make the first appointment let alone the thought that you would have to go through this whole process again! Here’s a surprise: research shows that feeling heard and understood by your therapist is one of the number one reasons people find healing. Which means that it doesn’t matter whether your therapist is trained in the latest and greatest treatment method. What matters more is you feeling seen and heard by your therapist.
Goals for therapy
Before you start therapy, it is a good idea for you to have 1-3 goals you would like to be working on in therapy. These goals will help you and your therapist track your progress and give you a roadmap for healing. A good question to ask yourself before your first appointment is, “What, in my life, do I want to be different right now versus when I finish therapy?” Bringing these things to your therapy session will help you and your therapist determine interventions and next steps to get you feeling better as soon as possible.
Try uncomfortable/hard things!
One of the best gifts you can give yourself and your therapist is to try uncomfortable and hard things that are suggested during the course of therapy. If the skills you had going into therapy were working, you wouldn’t need a therapist. Typically, when we suggest things that are hard and uncomfortable, we know it works. For example, I usually suggest people try some form of daily mindfulness or meditation. There is so much research to support why this works which is why I suggest it in the first place. Sometimes, when I suggest client’s try a certain coping skill, I’m met with resistance and given a list of reasons why it won’t work or it’s too uncomfortable to try. Being open in therapy to trying new things, or things in a different way will really go a long way in helping you feel better.
If you are looking for help with burn out, depression, anxiety, trauma, grief/loss, marriage/relationship issues, please feel free to contact us email@example.com. We’d be happy to hear what is happening and help you find the right counselor to help you feel better quickly. You can also head over to our website at www.peacefamilycounseling.com to read our bios and request a specific therapist. Our physical office is located in Greenwood, Indiana and we offer teletherapy to anyone in the state of Indiana.