You’ve identified that you need some support with issues you’re facing in your life. You’ve found a therapist you feel you can work with. You’ve had an initial session to confirm you’ll be able to work together. The time is marked in your diary.
Now what? You’re ready to do the work, but how can you make the most of your commitment to weekly therapy?
We share our thoughts on how to make therapy work for you:
Don’t expect a quick fix
A therapist – whether a counsellor, psychotherapist or psychologist – will not hand you a potion to fix all your emotions. Therapy is a collaborative process. The therapist does not have all the answers. He or she is there to create a safe space where together you explore your issues, seek answers and insights, and discover a new understanding of yourself and how you are in the world. Therapy doesn’t work overnight. It has its own process, and it helps the work if you can trust that process.
Boundaries are what therapists call the ‘rules of engagement’ and include things like timing, payment and confidentiality. Keeping all these aspects consistent helps to create a safe ‘container’ for the therapy to happen.
Speak your truth
One of the main fears about coming into therapy is that you will be judged. That’s why it can feel a little scary to reveal the absolute truth to your therapist. Yet, why are you there if not to work through your past wounds and create a happier, more fulfilled life? That won’t happen unless you’re able to open up and express what is really truly difficult for you and is causing you pain. A therapist you have a good relationship with will meet you where you are and help you feel seen, heard and understood.
Come with a focus – but be open to what unfolds
Some people like to come to therapy sessions with a shopping list of things they would like to discuss and work on. Others prefer to come with a curious mind and an open heart to see what will happen. You may fall somewhere in between. Either way, therapy can facilitate the process of bringing unconscious dynamics into your conscious awareness. The route to doing this may come through more unexpected ways, so the key is to be open to what might unfold as opposed to sticking to a strict agenda.
Experiment with new ways of communicating
Being in therapy is a chance to try out new ways of communicating. You may have found it really hard to confront someone in your life and instead swallow down your feelings. Your therapist can offer a way to manage that dynamic. If you feel angered by something your therapist said in a previous session, raise this in your next session. It could offer an opportunity to unravel a knotty situation that keeps happening in your life – thus enabling you to identify ways to do things differently next time.
Reflect in between sessions
The impact of therapy also happens in the hours and days in between your weekly sessions with your therapist. Take time to record the thoughts and feelings that emerge during the week, perhaps through journaling or drawing or meditating. You may see, hear, do or dream something that resonates with what you had spoken about that week and that may lead you to an ‘aha’ moment of insight and clarity. It’s helpful to note all of this down so you can observe your process unfolding.
Take the first step towards finding the support you need: call 020 8673 4545 to speak to our reception team, who will match you with one of our therapists. You can also email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.