Updated: Jun 8, 2021
By, Aneesha Perkins, MA
The month of May is all about raising awareness of your mental health and emotional wellness! A great place to develop awareness on your inner feelings, emotions, or challenges is in therapy. If you are thinking about starting therapy, this is for you! If you are currently reaping the benefits of therapy, this is for you too!
Check out these 5 tips that will help you maximize your experience in therapy:
Bring a Notebook – Take notes! It is easy to hear something insightful or powerful in therapy and quickly forget about it after the session. There is a lot of content that could be covered in your therapy session, and the best way to capture it is by taking notes. Additionally, taking notes is great for documenting your journey and being able to look back at your thoughts in the future. Find or purchase a notebook dedicated solely to therapy. Check out the healing journals at www.innopsych.com/thrive. During your next session, write down three key points that you want to reflect on later. You can also work with your therapist to summarize the main themes from the session. Spend some of your downtime during the week reviewing your notes. This leads to the next point!
Review Your Notes Between Sessions – The more you review your notes, the more you can make meaning of the content. You may even discover new revelations or insights that you can further discuss with your therapist in your next session. When you review your notes, write down any additional thoughts that come up, so you remember to bring them up in your next session. Reviewing your notes regularly pushes you to practice what you have learned sooner than later. Keep reading!
Practice What You Learn Immediately – The tools you learn in therapy will be most helpful when you put them to use right away. When your therapist introduces a new tool, strategy, or homework assignment get to it immediately. Practicing the techniques will help to deepen your understanding of the strategy. When clients do not complete homework assignments, therapists will usually do the homework in the session. That means that you are not maximizing your sessions. If your therapist did not assign homework, review the notes that you took during your session and choose one point to work on during the week.
Share your Concerns – Your relationship with your therapist is one that reflects how you may engage in other interpersonal relationships. Therefore, the therapy room is the best place to work through any challenges you face in your relationships with friends, family, co-workers and bosses. If you have a concern or issue with something your therapist said or did, address and discuss it. Your therapist welcomes your concerns and wants to ensure that you feel affirmed and respected in therapy. It can also empower you to use your voice more in your other relationships as well.
Show up Authentically – Show up to therapy as yourself. You will be able to make the best of your journey when you bring your authentic self to every session. Your authenticity creates a sacred place for you to express emotions, thoughts, feelings that you may have hesitated to share with others. If you are not showing up authentically, that is ok give yourself some grace and patience. Remember that trust takes time to build, and your therapist understands that it is a process.
Whether you are considering beginning therapy, are new to therapy, or you have been in therapy for a while, these tips will help you maximize your therapy sessions. Therapy is a process that works best when you are willing to invest time during the session and between sessions. Ironically, much of therapy happens outside the therapy office. Make the most out of your therapy experience starting today!
We would love to learn more about your therapy experiences. Share your experiences in our anonymous survey at: www.tinyurl.com/MyTherapyExp.
Aneesha Perkins, M.A., is a third-year Clinical Psychology doctoral student at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TCSPP). She obtained her Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from Trinity Christian College and a Master’s in Clinical Psychology degree from TCSPP in Washington, D.C. She is a writer, speaker, and presenter who enjoys helping women find wholeness and healing. Her clinical interests include mindfulness, self-care, generational patterns, and trauma.