How To Get The Most Out Of Therapy
Making a decision to begin a therapy journey can be a big one, and likely one of the best choices you will make. Trust me when I say that with the right therapist, this process is a complete game-changer (shout out to my incredible therapist, D, you’ve changed my life!).
That said, I have worked with many people who share with me that they have been in therapy, but it ended up being just like “chatting over coffee” or they felt that they weren’t getting anywhere. Other times folks just want to know how to get the most out of their time with their therapist.
Today on the blog, I am going to share with you some of the best ways to squeeze all the juice from your therapy orange. I’ve found that the rhythm and flow to the therapeutic journey is a little different for each client, but there are some similarities.
First, we can chat about why the right fit is the most important part of your path. Then, I will speak to the benefits of therapy and how it can light up your life. Finally, I will go over some ways to get the most out of your sessions, and how to make them more productive. This journey is one that you co-create. Unfortunately, coming on in and sitting on the couch is not enough to elicit change (though God knows I wish it was!). OK, let’s dive in!
Why Finding the Right Therapist is Like Dating
From my years in the field, I've come to see that navigating the world of therapy is eerily similar to the dating scene. Let me tell you why. When I began my own therapeutic journey, before even becoming a therapist, I wasn’t just looking to discuss my weekend plans. Instead, I was hoping to delve deep into my dreams, my fears, and yes, sometimes even my tears. (spoiler alert: there have been many, many tears shed in this journey!).
Just like in the whirlwind world of dating, the first therapist I met wasn't my "perfect match." And guess what? That's okay! Just as I wouldn’t commit to a life partner after one coffee date, I knew finding my ideal therapist might take a few tries. That connection, that "click," is so vital. It became clear to me that the bond I formed with my therapist would lay the groundwork for my entire healing journey.
The moments when you know you've found the right therapist? It's a feeling of “you get me- you really, really get me”. It’s that comfort you feel when you’re genuinely understood, the chuckles you share over shared experiences, and the security of knowing you can be vulnerable and still be safe. The right therapist, much like a perfect partner, will challenge you when you've gone astray, be your rock when you wobble, and cheer the loudest during your victories.
As I progressed, both in my personal journey and my professional life, it became evident how crucial compatibility is. While a therapist's qualifications are undeniably paramount, their therapeutic style, approach, and yes, even their personality, are significant contributors to the success of the sessions.
And, as I always say, therapy is as personal as a journey gets. Just as you'd handpick a partner to accompany you through life's roller coasters, you'd want that same care in choosing a therapist for your voyage of introspection and healing. My advice? Listen to your intuition, take your time, and prioritize that genuine connection. Because both love and therapy bloom in the warmth of true connection.
How Therapy Can Light Up Your Life (Literally and Figuratively)
Imagine you're in a dim room, bumping into things because you can't really see. Therapy is like slowly turning up the lights, so you can see everything more clearly – even the dust bunnies in the corner you've been avoiding!
There is a beautiful poem about therapy, and I’ll share here with you my favourite part:
my therapist says i can’t make the monsters disappear
no matter how much i pay her.
all she can do is bring them into the room,
so i can get to know them,
so i can learn their names,
so i can see clearly their toothless mouths,
their empty hands, their pleading eyes.
How beautiful is this?
In therapy, you gradually gain clarity about yourself, your past, and your patterns. And with that clarity comes the power to change, grow, and truly thrive.
Ever tried navigating your bedroom in the dark? Even in familiar territory, you’re bound to bump into something or trip over that shoe you thought you’d put away. Now imagine navigating through life with layers of unresolved feelings, past traumas, and a tangle of beliefs you didn’t even know you had.
Much like navigating your bedroom in pitch black, right?
This is where therapy comes in, like a warm, gentle sunrise gradually lighting up the landscape of your mind. Here's how:
Blind spots become known: We all have them—those sneaky areas in our psyche we just can't see ourselves. It is usually a recurring pattern that is defeating, or a limiting belief that keeps you from living the life you crave. Through the process of therapy, these blind spots slowly come into focus, allowing you to address them.
Showcasing your strengths: Do you know how amazing you are? If you’re like most people- probably not. It is so easy to get caught up in what is “wrong” with us that we forget what is right. You need to embrace all sides of you and utilize your assets. Therapy makes this possible.
Making your relationships brighter: As therapy helps you understand yourself better, it often leads to improved relationships. It only takes one person in the dynamic to change, and then the ripple effect is felt.
Finding your way out of the dark: If you have experienced trauma, I know it can feel like being trapped in a long, dark tunnel. A therapist can act as a guiding light, helping you find your way out, one step at a time.
So, while it might not give you the ability to light up a room literally (sorry, no superpowers here!), therapy can genuinely illuminate your life in ways you never imagined. It offers a beacon of hope, understanding, and growth in what can sometimes be a confusing, shadowy journey. And as they say, it’s always darkest before the dawn. With therapy, dawn is on the horizon.
So- with all of this goodness available, you’re wondering how to get the most out of your therapy, right? Right!
How to Make Therapy Sessions More Productive
1. Be Honest: The Authenticity Factor
Every time you step into a therapy session, think of it as entering a judgement-free zone. To truly benefit from therapy, you need to be your most authentic self. It's tempting to present the best version of ourselves or leave out details we're embarrassed about. But remember, therapists have pretty much heard it all!
Tip: Before your session, take a moment to reflect on what you want to discuss. Jotting down topics or feelings can help you open up honestly and candidly.
2. Commit to the Process: The Therapeutic Marathon, not a Sprint
Therapy isn’t a magic pill (though wouldn't that be nice?). It's a journey, often with highs and lows. Much like those workout routines we sometimes wish we could skip, therapy requires commitment. Over time, you'll start noticing the transformative effects.
Tip: Celebrate small victories along the way! Progress isn't just about earth-shattering breakthroughs; sometimes, recognizing a pattern or understanding a feeling is a huge step.
3. Do Your Homework: Beyond the Couch Activities
Therapy isn’t confined to that one hour in the therapist's room. Often, you’ll get assignments, be it reflective journaling, specific exercises, or reading. These tasks help integrate what you discuss in therapy into your daily life.
Tip: Create a dedicated "therapy homework" space or time in your day. Whether it's a cozy corner with a journal or a daily reminder on your phone, make it a routine.
4. Feedback is Your Friend: Open Channels of Communication
Think of therapy as a two-way street. While therapists are trained professionals, they rely on feedback to tailor the sessions to your needs. If a certain technique isn't working, or if you felt something was particularly insightful, speak up!
Tip: If giving feedback face-to-face feels intimidating, consider writing your thoughts down and sharing them in the next session.
5. Apply Outside of Sessions: Real-world Therapy Testing
The insights and tools you gain in therapy are meant to be applied in the real world. It’s like learning a new language; it’s most effective when practiced in real-life situations.
Tip: After each session, identify one or two actionable items or insights to focus on until the next session. This could be as simple as practicing deep breathing when anxious or as complex as confronting a long-held belief.
Making therapy sessions productive isn’t just about showing up; it’s about being present, engaged, and proactive. Remember, the magic of therapy isn't confined to the therapist's office; it's in how you carry those insights and growth into every corner of your life. Happy evolving!
Wrapping it Up
Embarking on a therapeutic journey can be like stepping onto a roller coaster. There will be ups, downs, twists, turns, and maybe a few loop-de-loops. But with the right guide by your side and a proactive approach, you can make the most of every thrilling minute.
Here's to the magic of therapy and to every brave soul ready to embark on this journey.
Guess what? We have an incredible team of therapists that live to help you! It is our passion, mission and greatest honour. Connect with us today and we can get you matched to your perfect fit- guaranteed!