thought of the week: getting what you need out of therapy
dana and i might both be la girls but we met in the bay during undergrad at scu. somehow, between big moves, booming careers and all of the curveballs life can throw at a person, we managed to remain integral parts of one another’s lives. she is a person who checks in on her strong friends, myself included. dana can read me like a book. she has been supportive of my blog since day one so when she reached out about a topic she wanted me to cover, i couldn’t resist.
the text message she sent said:
“…i feel like with shelter in place, so many people are now considering or trying therapy for the first time but i think a lot of people don’t know what to expect or how to maximize what they get out of therapy. how can someone get the most out of therapy or your relationship with your therapist?”
as i lay here, snuggled up with misu on a much needed day off (shout out to all my veterans, especially my papa), i wanted to provide some tips on how to get what you need out of therapy.
1. make a list of three major qualities you are looking for in a therapist – for me, it is someone who is solution focused, blunt and consistently able to see me. what are your three?
2. identify what topics you plan on bringing into session beforehand
3. be TOTALLY honest with your therapist – if they don’t know the full story, you aren’t going to get what you need out of each session
4. remember that they are not there to be your friend – it isn’t supposed to feel like a starbucks conversation between two old pals
5. be consistent with showing up to each session – i schedule my therapy sessions the same way i do work, an appointment with my ob and expensive restaurant reservations – i am never late and i am ready upon arrival
6. don’t be afraid to tell your therapist what you are looking to get out of your time spent together – they might need direction as no two clients are the same
7. be sure to actually do any homework assigned to you by your therapist – it is being assigned for a reason
8. do not expect your therapist to work harder than you or to “fix you” – that is not their purpose
9. a good therapist is going to push you to step outside of your comfort zone. please know the difference between feeling uncomfortable and feeling unsafe. do not fight your therapist (or fire them) because you feel uncomfortable. clearly, where you were comfortable wasn’t working, otherwise, you wouldn’t be in their office in the first place
10. understand that it will often get worse before it gets better. therapy requires some digging and unearthing of things you buried and sometimes, things you weren’t even aware were tucked away. your willingness to do the work will provide a reward and inner peace that is unparalleled