What happens in a session...
You will have already filled out your paperwork so your counselor will start the first session with basic knowledge of your situation and concerns. This session is about building rapport as well as gaining a stronger understanding of what brings you into therapy. Throughout the next few sessions, your counselor will work with you to create attainable therapeutic goals and objectives. Each week, you will work side by side, processing issues and learning new, healthier ways to relate to your situation and the world around you.
Signs you could benefit from therapy…
You feel a strong, persistent sense of hopelessness and sadness
Your issues do not seem to improve despite your efforts and assistance from family and friends
You have difficulty concentrating or following through with everyday activities and responsibilities
You worry often, expect the worst, or are continually on edge
Your behaviors are harmful to yourself or others
Any other concern that is influencing your daily life and ability to function in a healthy way
Getting the most out of your therapeutic experience…
Use all 45 minutes: Get to your session at least 5-10 minutes early. Take a few breaths and collect your thoughts.
Don’t look at the time: Your counselor will be responsible for ending the session on time. Relax and stay focused on processing your struggles.
Put in the work outside of session: You will be with your counselor for about 45 minutes a week. In order to make significant progress, you will need to take what you learned inside session and apply it to your everyday life. This is important to your ability to learn and grow throughout the therapeutic process.
Learn to Fish: It is common for clients to want advice from their counselor. Therapy is less about your counselor making decisions for you and more about helping you come to your own conclusions. This gives you ownership of the decision as well as helps you develop a stronger sense of control over yourself and your future.
Allow yourself to be vulnerable: Therapy is the one place where you can say anything that is on your mind. Have a random thought, say it? Flashback to a past memory, share it. Speak freely and allow yourself to relax into dialogue.
Go deeper: If you find yourself slipping into the mundane details of your week, remind yourself to go deeper. Is there a topic you are avoiding? Figure out what it is that you are not talking about and then share that with your counselor. Take the time to delve into your thoughts and feelings about what is underneath those surface-level issues.
Embrace change: Change can be uncomfortable at times but seek it out anyway. As you begin to notice changes in your life, pay attention to what is different. At times we will notice that things are better but may not know exactly what has changed. Create that awareness. Once you begin to notice what you are doing differently to influence a positive shift in your life, you can repeat those behaviors.
It is not necessary to put a lot of pressure on yourself to make giant improvements in a short period of time. The therapeutic process is not a sprint. If you are willing to ask questions, open up, speak what is on your mind, and put in a little extra work outside of session, you are already on your way to a happier, healthier you.