Seeing a counsellor/therapist is a great way to invest in yourself. If you’re looking to get the most out of your counselling sessions here are some ideas on how to get more out of therapy to make your sessions even more helpful.
- Plan how you transition into and out of sessions
Before a session it can really help to take some time to steady ourselves and let go of whatever we’ve just been doing so we can fully focus on what’s really important. This doesn’t need to be long, even 5 minutes doing a simple breathing exercise before a session can help us feel more present. Following your session you may also need some time to process things before you go back out into the world – a walk around the block, taking some time to journal or listening to music can be helpful for this. This time can be particularly important when working online when it’s much more tempting to finish a session and go straight back into our lives!
2. Be honest with your feedback
Many people struggle with people pleasing and counselling can be a great place to work on these issues and practice giving feedback to someone who has been trained to receive it non-defensively. Although it may feel difficult, especially at first, it can be really beneficial to share with your counsellor what’s been working for you and what hasn’t and if they’ve said something which doesn’t sit well with you.
3. Keep a mood log/journal
For many people when they start counselling they know they feel bad but don’t really know why. Mood diaries and journals can be really helpful for identifying triggers linked to low moods/anxiety throughout the week – be it interaction with certain people, environments or alcohol use and then these can then be explored further in your session. There are free apps designed for this purpose available for this online – Mind have some links for journals and other apps for wellbeing and mental health here.
4. Start a meditation/mindfulness practice
The benefits to meditation/mindfulness are well established. In a therapy context the increased skills of awareness of what you are thinking and feeling which meditation can bring can be really helpful to your therapy journey. If you find meditation unhelpful, active mindful activities like yoga, drawing or playing music can be more useful.
- 5. Don’t worry if you haven’t got anything ‘big’ to talk about this week
Some people find it helpful to keep a list of things they’d like to talk about in their next counselling session through the week, but don’t worry if you’re going into a session feeling like there’s nothing major to discuss, in my experience some really interesting explorations and learning have come for clients who initially came to sessions feeling this way. If you regularly find yourself in this situation it might be useful to check in with your counsellor, it could be that you need to readjust your focus or it might be time to discuss if you’re ready to finish your work together.
Do you have any tips for getting more out of your therapy sessions? Let me know in the comments below!
I’m Rachel (she/her), a counsellor and online therapist based in Shipley. I work with LGBTQ+ clients and those who have always felt ‘different’ in some way. My focus is on working with you to understand why you feel the way you do and what might help.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how working with me can help you overcome your challenges, recognise your existing strengths and create new and more effective ways to navigate your life – get in touch to book an introductory appointment.