Tips for Getting the Most Out of Therapy

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Therapy is a vulnerable, and expensive process.  Making the choice to go to a therapist is tough, and finding the right fit of a therapist is complicated by the fact that more and more therapists are out of network.  This is due to poor reimbursement rates, time consuming and bureaucratic approval and authorization processes, and a commitment to patient confidentiality that is often encroached upon by insurance requirements.  So a would be client or patient is left facing a therapy bill that – for a weekly 45-50 minute session – can feel quite hefty.  Here are some tips for making the most of your therapy appointments:

Be honest with your therapist
This goes beyond the obvious of using your time wisely on facing realities and admitting to struggles.  If there is something that your therapist is doing that doesn’t feel like the right fit for you, or a response to what you are bringing in the door, tell your therapist.   It might be tough, but your therapist is there to help you, and a good therapist would appreciate the feedback, and want to adjust to meet your needs.  Opening up directly about your needs can be therapeutic in itself!

Take notes
A lot happens within the 45-50 minute time period that a standard therapy session is held, and it can be hard to remember all of the epiphanies, associations, and techniques from week to week.  It might be helpful to jot down a few key words immediately after the session to remember what stood out, and then later to journal more extensively, processing your session in a written format.  It’s helpful to keep track of these notes, and look back on them as you progress through therapy, identifying key patterns and problematic thought processes that might be re-emerging as therapy topics.

Do work outside of session
While a lot does happen in that 45-50 minute therapy session, it is important to realize that not all of the work in therapy happens within that time frame.  Remaining open to techniques discussed within the session, and trying different behavioral outcomes or thought patterns may be a part of the therapy homework that is directly or indirectly assigned.  It will be important to track these outside of session experiences, as well, as you can track what works for you, what doesn’t, and what needs to be adjusted.

Take time to process
While you are already taking designated time to work on your mental health for your therapy sessions, you will get the most of therapy if you take time completely by yourself to reflect on the session, draw insights into some of the themes and patterns that were explored, and consider what it means to you and your life.  This can be done as a part of mindful reflection or “in the moment” thinking that can be taught during your time in therapy.

The number one predictor of making sure that you are getting the most out of therapy is on the fit, or relationship between you and your therapist. Browse some of the providers and descriptions on Therapy Hive, and find the right fit of help for you.

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