How to get the most out of therapy

So, you’ve taken the first step by reaching out and starting therapy. Now how do you make sure you get the most out of it? It can be difficult to know what you’re “supposed” to say or do, and you may find yourself sitting there waiting for something to happen. Here are a few things for you to keep in mind as you embark on your therapeutic journey.


Manage your expectations

Try not to go in expecting this person to “fix” everything for you. Although therapy genuinely can be life-changing for many people, your therapist can’t wave a magic wand and make everything better. If you’re going in with this mindset, you will probably end up disappointed.

Give it time

It’s also good to go in knowing it will likely take a while for you to start seeing any changes. Yes, often you may initially feel better after just one session, having got everything out that you’ve been holding onto, and that’s wonderful! But real, long-lasting change doesn’t happen overnight. Anyone promising “Guaranteed results in just four weeks!” is probably not genuine. You need to stick with it and be patient. You’re getting to know each other and figuring out what’s needed.

Put in what you want to get out

Something people don’t tell you is that therapy can be hard work! If you’re not willing to go to those difficult places or try things out, you might not get very far. Of course, it takes time to feel safe enough to open up or to make changes in your life, and a good therapist will never rush or pressure you. But if you keep holding back, you may find yourself feeling stuck. Remember: you’re not “having” therapy, you’re “doing” therapy. 

Find the right therapist for you

We’re all different and so it stands to reason that we all want different things in a therapist. And if the person you’re seeing just isn’t the right fit for you, that’s absolutely fine – you can look for someone else better suited.

Share how you’re feeling

That said, it’s important to bring up any issues with your therapist. They’re your sessions and you deserve to get some value from them. So if something isn’t working, tell your therapist. You can explore it together and hopefully come up with a different approach if needed. If not, see the above point. 

Reflect before you act

Sometimes your therapist might say or do something that irks you. It can be easy to react on your emotions and just decide to end the therapy immediately. But it’s worth considering what exactly it is that bothered you, and why. Perhaps they’ve touched a nerve, and this makes you feel defensive. Or maybe they’re challenging you, and there’s actually nothing wrong with that – gentle challenge brings awareness. This might be the exact thing you need to hear, even if you don’t think it is at the time. Again, talk to your therapist about how you’re feeling.

Hopefully, these points have given you some insight into therapy and some of the things you can do to try and make the most of it. After all, they’re your sessions, and you deserve to get something out of the time and money you’re investing. 

If you’re thinking of starting therapy and want to get a feel for whether I would be the right fit for you, you can contact me today to arrange a free, 20-minute introductory phone call. I would welcome the chance to discuss with you what you’re looking for and how I may be able to help support you with this.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Plymouth PL6 & PL7
Written by Laurel Deegan, Laurel Leaf Counselling | Reg. MBACP | BSc (Hons)
Plymouth PL6 & PL7

Laurel is an integrative counsellor working with individuals both face-to-face and online. She works with a range of issues which often stem from the past and impact on the present, leading to things like anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, anger, and relationship problems. Her work is attachment and trauma-informed and takes a holistic approach.

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