To ensure you receive the best possible experience out of therapy, here are 20 points to consider:
- What brings you to therapy? When did you first notice that something was wrong?
- You may not resonate with the first therapist you meet, like with anyone we meet for the first time. It's helpful to let them know and it's ok to change therapists. But bear in mind if changing is something you do regularly, it may be a good idea to have a second session to be sure.
- Sometimes therapy is uncomfortable, like starting anything new like going to the gym; it may hurt at first but try and push through, tell your therapist how you feel.
- What brings you to therapy now? When did you first notice that something was wrong?
- Be clear if you can whether you're looking for solutions or a safe space to process.
- Set a goal for therapy with an idea how you really want to feel.
- Have you any extra external support outside of sessions?
- Is there a background to the issue becoming more problematic or did it slowly creep up on you?
- You may not have an amazing breakthrough straightaway.
- Allow yourself the space to process the ideas discussed during the session.
- If your therapist mentions things that feel uncomfortable to you, always be up front and say so.
- Be truthful. If you withhold information you might find that what transpires as a result is not right for you.
- "If I were to wave a magic wand, how would things be different?"
- What makes you happy? Can you remember a time when everything was just as you wanted?
- We are relational beings; everything is about your relationship - with others and with yourself
- Make peace with your past so it doesn't determine your present and future.
- Your therapist may ask about your childhood, it may have led to ingrained behaviours that no longer serve.
- Give communication details so if anything changes or there is an emergency there is a contingency in place.
- The best therapy works when there is an agreed frequency of sessions, ie weekly/fortnightly.
- You will know when it's time to stop therapy. Trust the process.
Always remember, it is YOUR time, YOUR space and it is confidential. The only time when things need to be divulged to a third party is if your therapist thinks there is a risk of harm.
It is always a privilege to work with people in a very sensitive and thought provoking process. Practice self care (whatever works for you - walk in nature, art, sports, being with good friends whom you can confide in, spiritual practices that work for you - being kind to yourself). This is even more important when in therapy as things can be uncovered that might trigger you. If this happens, please be as transparent as possible with your therapist. The therapist is there to serve YOU.