3 Tips To Get the Most Out of Therapy

May 08, 2024
Christie Schmiemann is a graduate from NYU’s mental health counseling and wellness program. She has previously held graduate school positions at a university college counseling center and private practice in the NY areas. She is passionate about enhancing mental health awareness around the globe!
This story took place in United States

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(Photo Credit: Christie Schmiemann via Canva)

Do you feel like you’ve been having a hard time incorporating what you learn in therapy into your everyday life? Or are you just starting therapy and wondering what you can do to maximize it? Well, I have some good news for you. As a mental health counselor, I know there are several ways to increase therapy effectiveness and improve your progress! The window of time between your sessions with your therapist can be utilized as an opportunity to continue your self-development. Practicing some of the useful tips below in your everyday life can help you fully reap the benefits of therapy:

1) Take a little time to prepare for your sessions
We all have those days where we show up to our therapy sessions not sure what to talk about. Before your appointment, it can be beneficial to organize your thoughts to make the most of your session time. By coming to sessions with things that are important and relevant to you, you’ll be more engaged and productive. After all, therapy is an investment in YOU, your health, and your well-being!

  • Note important events and feelings that come up during the week. You can jot these down in your phone or on paper
  • Use a mood tracker app to help you and your therapist understand your moods and corresponding events that happen during the week
  • Voice record yourself re-capping the week or expressing particularly important moments that you would like to bring up in session

2) Take time to practice self-care in between sessions
While there are times you may feel happy after leaving some of your therapy sessions, there are also periods when you may feel tired and uncomfortable as you work through deep-rooted issues. These natural shifts and waves of all kinds of emotions are totally NORMAL in therapy! These ebbs and flows of emotions actually signal that therapy is working for you and getting to the root of your challenges. By taking some time to decompress and indulge in some self-care after therapy appointments, you can ease back into your life after a session and recharge for your next one!

  • Take a bath using essential oils or your favorite scented soap
  • Cuddle up to a book
  • Watch a favorite movie or tv show
  • Listen to a calming music playlist
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Call a friend or loved one
  • Go outside
  • Color in a coloring book

3) Take time to practice reflective thinking and do your “homework” (if applicable) after sessions
After your session, spend time reflecting on some of the topics you touched on.… What was the significance in bringing up the things you did? Have you been noticing patterns in your issues?

What responses did your therapist give you? How can you apply what you learned in sessions to the following upcoming weeks? Did your therapist suggest any homework or experiments to try? By reinforcing what has been learned during sessions (using tools outside the therapy room), you can make bigger leaps of progress in your everyday life! Taking some time to reflect on your conversations in therapy puts you in a better position to understand yourself and grow to your fullest potential!

  • Think of the importance of what you and your therapist spoke of during sessions and how it relates to YOURSELF
  • Take notes during or right after sessions to remember some of the key things you and your therapist discussed
  • Write down baby steps you can take for the following week to implement what you and your therapist talked about
  • Engage in real-life “homework” or experiments if your therapist encouraged you to do them

Incorporating these 3 tips in the therapeutic process can greatly strengthen your personal growth. You will thank yourself in the long run – and your therapist will certainly appreciate how hard you work outside of sessions! Keep making strides and remember that therapy is a journey with many hills and valleys. Working through those hills and valleys will be rewarding and can make all the difference in your future down the road.

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