Ok, let’s be real! Counseling is a commitment of money, time, and energy. But if done right, it can be the VERY BEST investment you’ve ever made!
Let’s MAKE THE VERY MOST OUT OF THERAPY with these 6 STEPS!
1. BELIEVE THINGS CAN GET BETTER
Imagine braking as you merge onto a busy highway. What would happen? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Therapy is the same way. Falling into therapy haphazardly with a “we’ll see how it goes” attitude keeps you on the fence. That’s about as helpful as literally straddling a fence. OUCH!
Instead, I give you permission to go into counseling excited about transformation. Ready to do the work…even if you’re scared or nervous. Let’s just trust the process.
If you don’t make the commitment to getting in traffic, you might find yourself on the side of the road letting life pass you by.
2. BUILD MOMENTUM
The beginning of therapy is the most crucial! You’re getting to know your therapist, and they’re getting to know you. You’re creating a rhythm with this person that you’ve hired to help you get to the next level in your life.
Make your appointments a priority. Establish a regular and consistent schedule so that you can start to see those results.
I recommend weekly or bi-weekly counseling appointments to start. Once you’ve established that relationship with your therapist and things are feeling better for you, you can be a little more flexible with your scheduling.
3. DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT
How often do we do the same thing over and over and expect different results? If what you’re doing isn’t working, let’s do something different. I know there’s comfort in staying with a familiar pattern, so let your counselor challenge you to step out of that comfort zone.
Just like when you learn a new dance, it’s awkward. You feel stupid and unnatural. Living lighter and more authentically can feel the same way. It’s a new, unfamiliar dance and doesn’t feel nearly as comfortable as the old, janky one. That’s ok. Trust the process and remember if it feels hard, that’s a sign that growth’s happening. Embrace it.
And remember…impact, TRUE IMPACT, happens outside of the therapy session. The more you practice your skills or step into your breakthroughs, the more change you’ll see.
4. TAKE CHARGE
It’s an exciting possibility to think that your therapist is a magician and will magically pull all of your solutions out of a hat.
Here’s what you need to know…
YOU ALREADY HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS.
Your therapist doesn’t have your answers, YOU DO! Think of your therapist as a passenger in your car. They might have ideas or suggestions; they might challenge you or support you. But you’re driving the car. Their main purpose is to help you find the answers.
Along those same lines, your therapist doesn’t know your comfort zones. Remember the goal in therapy is to get outside of your comfort zone, but not so far that you panic and retreat.
- Help set the pace.
- Be open with your therapist about your comfort zones.
- Give feedback and let them know what is and isn’t working for you.
- Don’t be afraid to hurt their feelings. This is the only way they’ll know what’s going on inside your head and your body.
BONUS! Many people are in therapy because they struggle to use their voices and speak up about what’s important to them. When you speak to your therapist, about your therapist, you get to practice this REALLY difficult skill, in real-time, with a safe person.
5. COME PREPARED
What if you went to the doctor and said, “I’m not sure what I’m doing here, I just thought I’d make an appointment and see what there is to see.” That would create a whole bunch of confusion and who knows what you’d leave their office with…maybe some meds you don’t need…maybe nothing at all except for feeling like you’ve wasted your time.
Therapy is the same way. This is your time. Your agenda. SHOW UP TO COUNSELING WITH AN INTENTION! Spend a few minutes before your session reflecting.
- What are you struggling with?
- What patterns are you ready to let go of?
- What would have to happen if you were to leave the session feeling like this session was really helpful?
- What have you noticed or tried since your last session?
- What about yourself are curious about?
Don’t me wrong…a good therapist does know how to dig when a client is feeling blank, but the more you put in, the more you get out what you wanted and needed from the session.
6. DON’T GET TOO COMFORTABLE IN THERAPY
What?!? Don’t get too comfortable in therapy? Hold on…that’s not what I mean. If your therapy is feeling stale or you’re starting to feel like you’re just meeting with an old friend, speak up. Your therapist feels this too but is likely trying to respect your pace and your comfort zone.
This is also a GREAT opportunity to revisit your goals. Take this opportunity to REVISIT, REFRESH, or RENEW your goals. Goals are the GPS coordinates that drive your treatment and if you feel like you’ve lost your way, you may need to re-enter those GPS coordinates.
OTHER THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
- Take notes. Or keep a therapy journal. Breakthroughs happen all the time in therapy, but sometimes they need to be nurtured. Write down your takeaways of each session.
- Trust is earned, not awarded. It’s ok if you need to warm up to your therapist.
- TMI is not a thing! I have people ask me ALL THE TIME If something is TMI (too much information). You’re in therapy…talking to your therapist. TMI doesn’t exist. As long as you’re comfortable, your therapist probably is too. And, the more you share, the more your therapist can help you.
LOOKING FOR A COUNSELOR?
Learning how to heal ourselves emotionally and turn away from self-destructive thoughts and behaviors is one of the most life-changing things we can do.
Our services are private, confidential, and take a holistic approach to health. We offer both individual and couple counseling sessions as well as affordable, sliding-scale counseling sessions.
Stop self-destructing and let yourself heal with some expert support so you can live a life of purpose, fulfillment, pleasure, self-confidence, safety, optimism, and joy.
Contact us now for a free consultation. Knot Counseling specializes in marriage counseling and help you get your relationship back on track.