Everyone seeking counseling, regardless of the reason, wants to get the most out of therapy. While your therapist can provide tools and help you develop coping skills, healing will only come if you commit to the process. It is important for you to take an active role in therapy for you to get the most out of your time together. Let’s explore how you can help maximize the benefits therapy offers.
How You Can Improve Your Therapy Sessions
Counseling involves a relationship between you and your therapist. A relationship implies that each person contributes. Here are some things you can do to get the most out of therapy.
1. Find the Right Therapist
Finding the right therapist sounds easy enough, right? But finding the therapist for you can be an arduous process. You want to figure out a couple of things before you enter the process of counseling.
Does gender or age matter to you in a therapist? Would you prefer a counselor that has a specialty? Do you think you’d be more comfortable with a therapist that has a specific religious affiliation?
These are some things to be thinking about when finding the right counselor for you.
2. Set Goals for Therapy
Part of going to counseling is working with your therapist to develop tangible goals for yourself. Knowing what you want these goals to be can be helpful in the initial processes of therapy. But don’t stress yourself out if you’re not quite sure what your goals are yet. Your counselor can help you process thoughts and feelings, making your goals clear.
3. Make It a Priority
Therapy will only work for you if you commit to showing up. This commitment includes being physically and emotionally present at appointments. Attending therapy sessions shouldn’t be something you decide to skip. Think of counseling as an essential health check-up — one for your mental health.
4. Be Vulnerable
You may worry that your counselor will judge you for the issues you are facing or for choices you’ve made. It’s a common concern. But your counselor is trained specifically to help you feel comfortable sharing the deepest parts of yourself. They don’t try to judge you. Instead, they listen to you and help you grow.
5. Do the Work
Your counselor will give you the tools to enact change in your life, but you are the one who has to use them. Sometimes doing the work means being honest with your therapist or with yourself. Other times, it means using the tools your counselor gives you and giving them feedback about what’s working. Continue showing up for yourself because you are worth the time and effort.
How Your Therapist Can Help Improve Your Therapy Sessions
Your therapist is the facilitator in your healing process. They have gone through years of training, education, and supervision. Here are some things your counselor will do to ensure the therapy process runs smoothly.
1. Perform an Initial Interview
Did you know you can request an initial interview with a potential therapist to see if it’s a good fit? Counselors are generally more than happy to do an initial interview to tell you about their approach to counseling. This meeting is a great idea to ensure you feel comfortable with your counselor before entering into a therapeutic relationship.
2. Set Milestones in Your Treatment Plan
Setting milestones for where you want to be in your healing process is a great way to track your progress in counseling. Where do you want to be after one month of counseling? Six months? A year? You and your therapist can set these milestones and use them to track your progress.
3. Create Intentionally Guide Sessions
Your counselor will carefully craft your sessions, so they meet your specific needs, concerns, and goals. They can explain their process and any specific techniques they use as they take you through it.
4. Talk About How Therapy is Going
Your therapist won’t keep you in the dark about your progress in therapy. If they have concerns, they will bring them up in a gentle, therapeutic way. They will actively ask you how you’re feeling, how the counseling process feels for you, and if you think you’re meeting your milestones.
5. Create a Safe Environment
Safety is of the utmost importance in counseling. Your therapist should make you feel comfortable because growth can’t happen if you’re not your true self in therapy. They will explain their confidentiality processes to you in-depth, assuring you that they won’t tell anyone the content of your sessions unless you are a danger to yourself or others.
What to Do if You’re Not Getting What You Need
Do you feel like you’ve taken all the steps you can, and you’re still not getting the most out of therapy? Check out the following ideas that can help you take control of your progress in counseling.
1. Trust Yourself
If you’re questioning your progress in counseling, trust yourself. You may worry that you’ll hurt your therapist’s feelings if you bring up your progress, but they train to help you meet your goals.
3. Talk to Your Therapist
Remember, counseling is for you, not your therapist. Counseling is a safe space to bring up concerns. Bring it up with your counselor if you feel like you aren’t getting the most out of therapy. They will address your concerns.
4. Make Necessary Changes
If your counselor suggests any changes, try them. If you tell your therapist you don’t feel like you’re making progress, and they suggest changing something up, at least try it. They might suggest a change in routine, a different coping mechanism, another counseling approach, or a different therapist altogether.
Remember, your counselor works for you. You deserve to get the most out of therapy for yourself and your mental health. There are numerous ways in which you and your counselor can work together to create healing and growth.
Let All Counseling Help
The first step in the counseling process is finding the right therapist. All Counseling can help. Visit All Counseling’s easy-to-use directory that lists a variety of therapists throughout the United States with a wide range of specialties and locations, so you can find a great therapist and get the most out of counseling.