There are several ways to make your time in therapy effective. Showing up and sitting on the couch isn’t enough. If you are ready to make lasting change you have to put in the work. A good therapist will match your engagement every step of the way.
Know your goals
Do you want more energy and better relationships? Do you want to address issues from your childhood? Do you want to be better able to manage your anxiety? Spend some time thinking about what you’d like to address and what improvement would look like.
Your therapist takes notes, you should too! During and between sessions. Therapists can share a lot of information, more than you can digest all at once. Jotting down insights, connections made, skills introduced, or resources to remember frees you up. Write things down between sessions. Make note of important events, new insights, or awareness since the last session. Write down anything you want to go over in session.
Your therapist is not your friend or family. You aren’t going to disappoint them or let them down if things aren’t improving. They can’t help you if they don’t know what’s going on. Even though it’s normal, you don’t need to feel embarrassed or ashamed of anything in therapy.
Let your therapist know if something isn’t working for you
Therapists have many approaches, tools, and skills. If something they are doing doesn’t feel like a good fit for you it’s ok to let them know. If you hit a roadblock or a barrier to a plan, let your therapist know. For example, if you’ve decided to increase exercise to improve mood and can’t get motivated, let your therapist know. They can help you address anything that’s getting in your way of.
Do the work
You will get out what you put in so practicing what you’ve learned will yield the best results. Between sessions, spend time reflecting on what you are working on, read, journal, and research. Do the work.