Seeing a therapist is a great act of self-care.
It will likely improve your mental state and teach you to better manage and cope with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. But are you sabotaging your own therapy sessions?
Here are 10 simple rules for getting the most out of therapy.
1. Don’t Censor Yourself
Your therapist is not going to judge you. Therefore, you don’t have to pretend to feel a certain way or give the answer you imagine she “wants.” Therapy is about breaking down what’s real and so it will only benefit you if you are real, too.
2. Go as Your Naked Self (Aka Take Your Makeup Off)
Another reason to always keep makeup wipes close by. This isn’t because your mascara might run if you cry; it’s freaking liberating. You bare your naked soul in therapy, why hide your face behind makeup?
3. Keep a Journal Throughout the Week
Keeping a journal of the week’s events (and reviewing it beforehand) helps you remember and process your life. Things may seem insignificant as they occur, but reading them back may drive home how profound they actually were. Journaling may also help you draw parallels you couldn’t otherwise.
4. Become a “Yes” Person
Say “yes” to conversations that are hard. Say “yes” to thoughts that are difficult to process. If you don’t open yourself up to the possibilities of what you can learn and achieve in therapy, you won’t reap the benefits of it either.
5. Take Notes on Your Phone
Jotting down talking points in the Notes app can keep you organized. Structured bullet points better frame a dialogue and you won’t leave feeling like you forgot to mention something.
6. Imagine You Are the Therapist
Sometimes we are kinder to others than we are to ourselves. Can you step back from what you are feeling and treat yourself as you would a friend? If you were the therapist, what would you tell yourself?
7. Don’t Be Afraid to Use Props
Maybe don’t walk in with a rehearsed PowerPoint presentation (or maybe do) but showing can be easier than telling. Bringing a book that moved you could be helpful. Playing a song and analyzing why it made you remember your ex can be more productive than explaining the song in an ambiguous way.
8. Ask Questions
You do not exist in therapy solely to answer questions about your childhood or your sex life. You can ask them, too. Sometimes asking the questions aids in answering them.
9. Challenge Your Own Belief System
Questioning why you think or react the way you do is the only way things patterns change. You can’t do what you’ve always done and get anything but the same results.
10. Have a Self-Care Routine
Through therapy, you’re learning about yourself, accessing thoughts you never dreamed of, and processing earlier life events. That’s a lot to handle. So what are you going to do to keep yourself healthy, to take care of yourself?
What do you do to make sure you get the most out of therapy? Sound off in the comments below!