These are all legitimate questions.
However, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for what therapy looks like because everyone has different needs.
But generally, there are a few things you can do to make any therapy session effective for you. Keep reading to find out what these things are.
Honesty means telling the truth of what is on your heart, even if it sounds messy or dark or “wrong.”
Despite our best efforts, we all come to therapy with preconceived ideas about what “the problem” is, where it comes from, and who are the “good guys,” and who are the “bad guys.” But as therapy continues, you may find that your original perspectives change as you gain more awareness about the context of your issue, its history, and its purpose.
Some of us have been hurt and betrayed early in our lives by significant others. We learn to keep everyone at a distance to protect our hearts. Ultimately, counselling works best when you are willing to receive care. You don’t have to lay down all your defences, but you are asked to be willing to let someone else be there for you, even if it’s for one 50-minute session.
At the end of the day, you are the captain of your life, and you know best what your needs are. It’s our job as counsellors to make sure we are on the same page with you.
To get the most out of your sessions, keep reflecting on them throughout the week. You might have insights or ideas that you want to share with your counsellor the next time you see them.
Sometimes, you will be asked to try on new behaviours. These will always be offered in service of your therapeutic goal and never forced on you. These steps might feel risky because they require you to lean past your comfort zone and try something you’ve never tried before.
Take the therapy home with you and share your most significant shifts with others in your life. This will help cement your learning.
As we do more profound work, this may evoke strong feelings (anger, grief, sadness, depression, etc.). Things may feel worse before they feel better. If you feel or think that you are not getting better, we ask that you come and talk to us. It’s essential that you feel supported and understood where you are at.
From time to time, you might be asked how the therapy is going for you. Be willing to talk about what works as well as what doesn’t.