How to get the most out of therapy

I’ve got so many ideas that I want to write about but the more I thought about where to start the more it made sense to start at the beginning. With an increasing pressure in free therapy services to deliver big results quickly it’s more important than ever that clients know how to get the most from a brief intervention such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

We know that there’s no magic wand that can ‘fix’ all of our problems but I frequently see a note of disappointment when this fact is explicitly discussed in session. There is no denying it- making change isn’t easy and the thought of therapy coming to end can feel scary. It is for all of these reasons I’ve developed this list of ways to get the most from therapy.

  • Get a folder or large envelop and some paper/notebook specifically for therapy

  • Attend your sessions regularly- big gaps between sessions will stop the flow

  • Make little notes about the things that stand out to you when you’re in the session

  • Don’t worry about saying you don’t know or you don’t understand- your therapist is there to help you make sense of things

  • Keep a diary after sessions- write down what you learned. Write down what you liked about the session and what you disliked. Please tell your therapist if there was something you didn’t find helpful as you can talk about it and find another way to do things

  • Put all your worksheets and notes in your folder so they’re safe- this will be helpful long after you have finished therapy as you will have it all in one place ready for you to refer back to when you need it

  • When you learn a new skill write it down- be clear on when and why you would use it (if you’re not sure then please make sure you ask to go back over it)

  • Try to be honest- therapists are not mind readers

  • The more information you give your therapist the more you can try to make sense of it

  • The more curious and committed you can be, the more you can hope to get out of the experience

  • Write your between session work down so you’re less likely to forget about it

  • Practice the skills and do the between session work- the more you put in, the more it will make sense (and if it doesn’t you can explore the reasons why together)

  • Think about what you want to get out of your next session and share your agenda with your therapist.

I hope you find this list helpful. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the list- I’ve started giving this list to all new clients and am happy for you to use it too.

#howto #therapy