The stereotypes around therapy may have subsided, but there’s still a lot of skepticism around the process. This uncertainty largely stems from individuals that sought treatment but didn’t get the results they’d hoped to receive. Whether it was an issue with affordability, comfortability, or an experienced lack of progress after weeks of therapy, these outcomes discouraged many from continuing their path to healing.
What isn’t discussed before seeking therapy is that it’s an all-encompassing process. It’s not as simple as finding someone with a psychology degree, and you’re suddenly over your problems in a few sessions. Those that genuinely wish to enhance their mental well-being must be open to the entire process and remain committed until they experience positive change. Below is some advice on how to get the most out of therapy.
Have A Solid “Why”
Some people seek therapy for the wrong reasons. They want to save a relationship, get people off their backs, or counseling is a requirement for legal or professional purposes. While it seems like the only way out of a situation, it’s likely not enough to convince you to open up and take the matter seriously.
If you want to get the most out of therapy, you must have a solid why. The reason you’re going should be for no reason other than personal healing. Think about the core problems you’re experiencing and what you want to change about yourself. Ultimately, when your “why” centers around you, you’re inclined to stick to the process.
Commit To Finding The Right Therapist
A therapist is someone you’re going to share your innermost thoughts and feelings with during your sessions. It’s kind of hard to do that if you don’t feel comfortable. Although a person can have the necessary credentials, experience, and affordable rates, it doesn’t mean they’re the best person to counsel you.
You want to select someone whose ideals and practices align with your core values and beliefs. Treat finding a therapist like hunting for a job. Do your homework, read reviews, and set up consultations to ask in-depth questions. If you choose someone and don’t feel comfortable after a few sessions, don’t give up. Simply go back to the drawing board and try again until you find something that works.
Be Honest And Transparent
You can’t expect therapy to work if you’re not going to be open and honest. While you may feel guilty, ashamed, embarrassed, or even hurt about things you’ve done or experienced in your past, you must be willing to share this information with your therapist. The more forthcoming you are, the easier it is for them to pinpoint causes, make a diagnosis, give advice, and prescribe medication (if necessary).
Set Realistic Expectations
Don’t make the mistake of setting the bar too high too soon. Though the main objective is to learn how to manage your emotions or cope with a traumatic experience, you shouldn’t expect to be healed overnight. Unrealistic expectations put a lot of pressure on you and your therapist and stunt your growth.
Decide what you want to work on and set milestones you’d like to achieve along the way. For example, let’s say you want to overcome social anxiety. Instead of saying you want to be a social butterfly in a year, you might say that through therapy, you hope to be able to attend one event within a year and feel less apprehensive. It’s measurable and actionable and allows you to apply the knowledge you’ve learned in therapy.
Unlike physical health problems that can be resolved with medication or surgical procedures, mental health issues take time to overcome. It requires diligence, commitment, honesty, open-mindedness, and, most importantly, patience. If you truly want to improve, you must be willing to stick to the process and continue going to sessions. The above advice provides a great foundation for you to make the most of therapy so you can reclaim your life.