Getting the most out of Therapy

Psychotherapy may not cure your condition or make an unpleasant situation go away. But it can give you the power to cope in a healthy way and to feel better about yourself and your life.

Here are a few tips to get the most out of the process:

  • You should feel comfortable with your therapist. If you don’t, look for another therapist with whom you feel more at ease.
  • Approach therapy as a partnership. Therapy is most effective when you’re an active participant and share in decision making. Make sure you and your therapist agree about the major issues and how to tackle them. Together, you can set goals and measure progress over time.
  • Be open and honest. Success with psychotherapy depends on your willingness to share your thoughts, feelings and experiences. It also depends on your willingness to consider new insights, ideas and ways of doing things. If you’re reluctant to talk about certain things because of painful emotions, embarrassment or fears about your therapist’s reaction, let your therapist know.
  • Stick to your treatment goals. If you feel down or lack motivation, it may be tempting to skip psychotherapy sessions. Doing so can disrupt your progress. Try to attend all sessions and to give some thought to what you want to discuss.
  • Don’t expect instant results. Working on emotional issues can be painful and may require hard work. It’s not uncommon to feel worse during the initial part of therapy as you begin to confront past and current conflicts. You may need several sessions before you begin to see improvement.
  • Continue to work between sessions. If your therapist asks you to document your thoughts in a journal or do other activities outside of your therapy sessions, follow through. These homework assignments can help you apply what you’ve learned in the therapy sessions to your life.
  • If psychotherapy isn’t helping, talk to your therapist. If you don’t feel that you’re benefiting from therapy after several sessions, talk to your therapist about it. You and your therapist may decide to make some changes or try a different approach that may be more effective.

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