Therapy is an investment, both financially and in terms of your time and energy and you want it to work. Your therapist wants it to work too. I always think that essentially my job is to put myself out of work. I want you to benefit as much as possible from our sessions. In this blog I’m sharing some thoughts on how you can get the most out of your sessions and hopefully give you an idea of what to expect along the way.
So, How Do You Get the Most Out of Therapy?
You need to want to come. If someone is making you go it is far less likely to be successful. So, if you want to see change in your life, if you’re ready to make that investment in yourself that’s fantastic and a massive hurdle that many people don’t manage to get over.
If you have this motivation, it means your mind is in the right place. A key factor in the success of therapy is to keep an open mind and work hard on yourself. That said, if you’re ready to access therapy but you feel you might find this difficult it is also something we can work on together.
I always encourage clients to have regular and consistent appointments, at least when we first start out. It can be difficult, around family, work or other responsibilities and the level of commitment you show to your sessions shows the level of commitment you have to yourself and the change you want to see.
Before our first session
If you know there’s something specific you’d like to work on, something that is causing you emotional pain, a specific emotion you’re struggling with or certain thoughts that are unwanted, come with that in your mind. Sometimes people like to bring a diary they’ve kept about how they feel, others like to come and just see how things go and what comes up. Do what works for you.
Think about what makes you comfortable. You might find it easy to talk to me straight away or you might find it really daunting. If you’re worried about this you can tell me and I’ll help you ease into our sessions and guide you as we get to know each other.
I invite clients into my home and this means I am able to make you as comfortable as possible. There’s no sterile lighting or people walking along the corridor. If you like to hug a cushion, have a throw draped over you or curl your feet up on the sofa you can.
Logistics with a baby
As a postnatal counsellor I know that the logistics around feeding, naps or your feelings around leaving your baby with someone else can be difficult. In those early months you are very welcome to bring your baby with you and bring whatever you and your baby might need for this. As they get older this can be more difficult, so once they start moving around its helpful to get someone to care for them while you attend our sessions, then you can focus more easily without the distraction of your little one trying to get around.
During your session
I know it can feel vulnerable and daunting attending counselling and baring all and so my aim is to make you as comfortable as possible as we develop a relationship between us. It can take a while a while to share those deep painful memories or emotions or to share those thoughts that make you feel bad or like you’ll be judged and it’s my job to help you feel able to do this. We’ll get there together.
As you get to know me, be as open with me as possible. As a relationally trained therapist I know that what goes on between us can tell us a lot about how you experience things outside of the therapy room. I’m rarely offended (after all, I’m trained for this), so if something is bugging you about me or our sessions try to share it with me. Whether it’s a stain on my shirt (though I promise I usually wear clean clothes!) that’s annoying you or its something more personal about me, I welcome your openness. So often we’re too polite to do this! If you see a therapist that responds badly to feedback, see this as a red flag. All therapists should welcome this and be able to talk about it.
After your session
After your therapy session, especially if it’s taken a lot of your energy, rest and self-care is really important to give you space to recover, to process the session and guide yourself back into the present. Whether you go for a short walk, enjoy a tea or coffee in your favourite café or even drive the long way home to put some distance between our session and your home.
Consider your ‘take homes’ from our session. Did it prompt a different perspective towards something? Did something come up that you haven’t thought of before? Is there a different way you would approach something as a result? Occasionally we might agree on some homework together, though I promise you it isn’t like school homework, so consider this between sessions.
I hope you’ve found this useful or, if you know someone else who might find it useful please forward the link on to them! If you’re ready to start counselling and have questions that haven’t been answered here, please feel free to send me an email at email@example.com. There are no stupid questions and I’m always happy to help.
Postnatal Counsellor in Harrogate & Online
Claire Judd is a fully qualified counsellor in Harrogate, working with postnatal mums. If you’re struggling, get in touch for a free 15 min call to find out how we can work together.
Follow @therapy.for.mums on Instagram for information, tips and advice.