Therapy can be a boon to your relationships, general outlook and long-term psychological wellbeing. However, as is the case with most things in life, you should expect to get just as much out of therapy as you put into it. If you’re able to commit to a treatment plan and defer to the guidance of your therapist, you’re likely to see bankable results. On the flipside, if you consistently fail to heed the advice of your therapist, blow off appointments and refuse to complete homework assignments, therapy may not prove particularly beneficial. Anyone looking for effective ways to make therapy work for them should heed the following pointers.
Show Up for Appointments
Although showing up for therapist appointments may seem like a no-brainer, a fair number of patients fail to attend sessions consistently enough to facilitate lasting change. While missing an occasional appointment is inevitable for many of us, habitually failing to keep appointments can prove both detrimental to your mental health and create tension with your therapist. After all, if you can’t be troubled to keep your appointments, why should your therapist put their best foot forward when it comes to treating you? So, unless you have a valid excuse – i.e., dangerous weather, poor driving conditions, a family emergency or fear of possible COVID-19 exposure – you’d do well to keep the appointments you make and see your therapist as often as they recommend.
If actually getting to your therapist’s office is an issue, you may want to look into remote therapy options. In light of the very real threat presented by the novel coronavirus, many therapists are now offering patients virtual appointments. Californians who are intrigued by the idea of remote therapy should do a search for “online therapy California”.
Most therapists are very accustomed to working with patients who have busy schedules. So, if potentially schedule conflicts are a concern, make this known at the outset. In all likelihood, your therapist will be more than happy to work with you on hammering out a mutually beneficial treatment schedule.
Complete Homework Assignments
Depending on the issues for which you’re seeking therapy and the individual therapist with whom you’re working, you may be tasked with completing homework assignments. In many cases, therapy homework involves keeping a journal of one’s feelings, using various mental health apps and reading books that are beneficial to recovery.
Needless to say, if you have a busy schedule or have never been particularly fond of homework, you may not be keen on following through. While hesitation to take on extra work is certainly understandable, it’s important to understand that your therapist isn’t assigning this homework to inconvenience you – but to help you. If completing therapy homework is truly proving to be a drain on your time or energy, consider talking to your therapist about potentially adjusting the amount of homework they assign.
Don’t Obsess Over Being Liked
Due to self-esteem issues and past rejections, many of us go into therapy with the intent of being liked by our therapists. To a point, this makes sense. After all, if you’re going to entrust your mental health to another person, it should at least be someone who likes you. At the same time, however, your therapist is your doctor, not your friend or romantic partner. While some patients have very good rapports with their therapists, being liked by your therapist shouldn’t be your end goal.
Of course, if a therapist is outright mean to you or simply isn’t a good fit for the problems you’re dealing with, you shouldn’t be afraid to acknowledge this and seek treatment elsewhere. More often than not, your therapist will be fully on board with this idea and possibly even provide you with some good recommendations.
There’s virtually no limit to how much positive change therapy can facilitate in one’s life. Whether you’re dealing with past trauma, present day stressors or some combination thereof, a good therapist can help you get to the root of the issue(s) and provide you with the necessary coping tools. Of course, this isn’t to say that therapy is a one-way street. Just as your therapist is expected to do their part, you’ll need to put an equal amount of time and effort into your recovery.
A professional writer with over a decade of incessant writing skills. Her topics of interest and expertise range from health, nutrition and psychology.