Mustering up the courage to admit you need support can be a difficult thing to do. Once you have taken this important step however, you are on the right track to make productive choices.
Whether you’re struggling with depression, seeking relationship help or simply need someone to talk to – counselling is a useful tool for many. If you have gone down this route, it’s important to understand that both you and your counsellor need to work together to make lasting change.
As with most things in life, you truly get out what you put in, and in this case you are investing in the most important thing – yourself. Take a look below for some tips to make your counselling sessions work for you.
If your counsellor has advised you to meet regularly, it is important not to skip sessions. Of course there will be times when life gets in the way, but on the whole, unless there is a family emergency or a holiday – show up. Going to sessions regularly will help you maintain momentum and sets you up to get the most out of your experience.
Do your homework
Some therapy techniques, like cognitive behavioural therapy, are designed to include ‘homework’ for you to carry out between sessions. This usually entails exercises for you to try and then report back on in your next session. Other therapy types may require you to do homework in a more periodic fashion to enhance the work you do in your sessions. Other types may not require any homework, but you may be encouraged to try new things.
This ‘homework’ helps to take what you’re learning in therapy out into the real world, where you’ll need it the most. It allows you to practise what you’ve learnt and solidify the changes you make. Skipping this part of therapy may slow your progress.
Being honest with yourself and with your counsellor is key. Wanting to hide things about yourself and even lie is a natural response when you’re unhappy, but if you do this you will hold yourself back. Remember that your counsellor is not there to pass judgement. They are there to help you understand yourself better and to make positive changes.
Being honest also means speaking up when you feel something isn’t working for you, or when you are struggling. Be open about your feelings and your counsellor can look to tweak or adjust your treatment.