5 Ways To Get The Best From Your Therapy Session
Like a basketball player will revisit their shooting form from time to time, it is important to revisit the basics you can do as a client for a therapy session in order to get the best results.
1. Journal between sessions
Journaling allows you to take a break from your regular stream of consciousness and step into a more analytical and emotive space. You may analyze a dream. You may reflect on the day’s events. You could analyze the quality of your relationships. You may trace some difficulty you’re having these days to some painful event in your childhood. The point is that you are making strides at being more authentic with yourself by slowing down and having a conversation.
For more on journaling, consider my guide — Journaling For Self-Knowledge.
2. Calm down
In this breakneck paced Internet society we’ve grown into, it can be all too easy to consume a bunch of coffee and just plow your way through the therapy session. Sometimes you need to do it this way. However, I recommend calming down as an alternative.
Some of the most wonderful insights come to us when we are in a calm state. You can slow your breathing and take deep breaths. You can listen to calming music. You can go for a walk outdoors. You can tell yourself it’s okay to let go of the concerns of the day in order to reach a deeper state. Being calm during your session allows you to focus in more deeply on what truly matters.
3. Write down a list
All sorts of insights and to-do’s come to us throughout the course of the week. Keeping track of them with a small list can make all the difference when it comes to the session itself. It’s easy to have a great number of ideas stored up in your memory, get into session, and forget what it was that you were going to talk about. A list helps you to remain in touch with what was important throughout the week.
4. Practice precision with language
There is a slight difference between despair and dread. It may be worth articulating that difference to yourself! Is what you commonly term to yourself as “depression” actually a form of sadness? There are all sorts of wrinkles in the English language. If we approximate our meaning as closely as possible, even taking up a study of words and definitions in the process, we get more at the heart of what it is we are experiencing.
A common imprecision to consider is when you’re asked how you’re doing. If “I’m fine” is your most common response, perhaps there are other ways of expressing yourself that could enliven and provide meaning to your life.
5. Practice vulnerability
Hiding information from your therapist in order to manage their expectations and impressions of you is a perfectly normal thing to do, particularly during the early stages of the work. We all learn what roles we have to play in society in order to not be attacked, unfairly judged, or manipulated. We bring those roles into the therapy work. Most of us want to be liked and accepted. A good therapist will accept our roles, like them for how they served us, and entice us to bring information and experiences to the session that may be at odds with those roles so that we may heal. A not-so-good therapist will use our roles against us and spin us off into a lack of meaning.
By practicing a bit of vulnerability, we learn rather quickly whether a person can be trusted or not. If a therapist is really worth their salt, lots of vulnerability will yield lots of results!