As the title of this website might suggest, therapy is more than just time spent each week in the office with your therapist. You can enhance the experience (and hopefully the outcome) by doing a few things between and during your sessions. Following are some tips from Ryan Howes, Ph.D. for getting the most out of your "hour". I've featured seven tips here. More to follow in the next blog post. Thanks for reading!
Take the Whole Hour: We call it a therapy hour but it's only 50 minutes. Get your money's worth by arriving 10 minutes early to catch your breath, collect your thoughts and prepare for your session.
Forget the Clock: Show up early, but let the therapist be in charge of ending the session on time. You've got enough to think about during the session, the therapist can be responsible for wrapping up.
Make it Part of Your Life: Therapy works best when you take what you've learned and apply it to the rest of your week. Between sessions, notice areas in your life you'd like to explore. Maybe you'd find it helpful to engage in...
Journalysis: Use a journal to reflect on your sessions and jot down things you notice about yourself during the week. It doesn't have to be the "Dear Diary" of your youth, just a place to record a few thoughts or feelings. It may help to bring it to session with you.
Ask Anything: Clients sometimes censor their questions because they believe asking is against the rules. You're allowed to ask whatever you want, let the therapist explain their boundaries. Want to know a personal detail, professional opinion or an explanation for something she said or did? Go ahead and ask. You might not get a straight answer, but you should get a reason why not, and you might learn something about yourself in the process.
State of the Union: Check on your status any time during your therapy. How are the two of you working together? How well do you understand each other? Is therapy helping or hurting at this point? This is ideally a two-way discussion, with both of you sharing your thoughts.
Try New Things: Therapy is a great place for thinkers to try feeling, listeners to practice talking, passive people to be assertive, etc. Want to rehearse confrontation? Practice asking someone out? Let yourself cry in front of someone? Therapy is a great place for this.