Starting a process of counselling or psychotherapy can be daunting. It is also a significant commitment. And just as we are paradoxical in other areas of our lives, we are paradoxical when it comes to therapy; part of us wants to embrace change and another part doesn’t. So how can you get the most from your therapy? Here are five top tips which are less about doing and more about your relationship with yourself and your therapist, which will help you in your therapeutic journey:
In my view, a spirit of curiosity and openness to exploration on the part of client and therapist allows for a deeper and more interesting process. The reason I love what I do is because I never cease to be amazed by the richness of the human experience. Therapy facilitates self-knowledge. Therefore, there is no better way of knowing oneself other than being curious about your own experience.
This includes being honest about not being honest. Therapy can only benefit you if you are fully honest with yourself and your therapist. Being honest does not mean a full detailed confession of what is going on in your life. It is more about not leaving out vital material, which is holding you back in life. It’s totally okay to say to your therapist: “This is difficult for me to talk about, but I think it’s important that I do.”
Build a Meaningful Relationship with Your Therapist
Research shows that the success of therapy is linked with the quality of the therapeutic relationship. It is important that you feel safe and are able to trust your therapist. This is not to say that things won’t feel difficult or wobbly at times. However, basic trust between therapist and client is an important component of the work of therapy. It may take sometime to build trust in the relationship, and when mistrust arises it is important that you feel able to discuss this with your therapist.
Pay More Attention
One of the many benefits of therapy is an increased level of self-awareness. You will gain more from your weekly or twice weekly sessions by paying more attention to your thoughts, feelings and interactions in and outside of therapy. This includes observing familiar patterns of behaviour and negative self-talk.
Prioritise Your Sessions
You have come to therapy to feel better and get better. However, your wellbeing and recovery can only take place when you value it and prioritize it. Come to your sessions on time and attend weekly, no matter how resistant you are feeling. It’s okay to say to your therapist: “I really didn’t feel like coming here today…”
Lastly, if you are in any doubt as to the value of therapy, then check out this blog which will help you quantify how valuable therapy can be.
Image credit: Mark Vahrmeyer