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6 Tips to Make the Most of Your Counseling Time

1. Choose your therapist carefully – Not all counseling approaches are right for everyone. A trusting and open relationship is imperative for success. Shop around until you find a fit that is right for you and determine if a match exists before starting therapy.

2. Arrive a few minutes early - Allow yourself some time to decompress before the session starts. A therapy hour can seem to go very fast. By giving yourself a moment to collect your thoughts before entering the session, you buy a little more time.

3. View the work as collaborative – Be willing to drive therapy in the direction you need for yourself and communicate with your therapist about what direction that is. Make time to complete self-help assignments, if given, and spend time between sessions processing your work. The best therapy happens in the time between sessions when you live out changes gained through new decisions and insight.

4. Have your goals in mind – If you are not sure what you are seeking to accomplish you can often flesh this out with your therapist in the first sessions as you create your treatment plan. Coming to therapy with an idea of how you want the end result to look can help move this process along so you can start making gains in the direction you choose.

5. Say what is on your mind – Therapy is a great place to take risks and express thoughts and feelings you might not explore otherwise. Therapy is designed to be a safe place for people to explore themselves in deeper ways and thus understand themselves and how their worldviews affect them.

6. Talk about the therapeutic relationship in therapy – Therapy is like a mini laboratory where you get to see yourself in relation to others and practice new ways of communicating. Talk about any issues or concerns you have with your therapist. For instance, if you are bothered by something your therapist said or you don’t feel the session is headed in the direction you believe is most helpful, speak up. It is a great opportunity for exploration and practice in assertiveness.

Adapted from

21 Tips for Clients in Psychotherapy

What should you talk about in therapy?

Published on May 26, 2010 by Ryan Howes, PhD, ABPP in In Therapy



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