One silver lining of the pandemic? Therapy is now more widely-available than ever before. In fact, many therapists rethought their definition of “good therapy” after realizing that telehealth appointments really work. Still, to truly get the most of your sessions, it’s important that you tailor your experience to your needs. Below, I offer five tips for making therapy work for you.
Five Tips to Help You Get the Most Out of Therapy
1. Find a therapist with professional credentials and experience to match your concerns.
Good therapy means connecting with someone you trust and who makes you feel comfortable. Your therapist should also be professionally-trained in the work that they’re doing! To start, you can ask friends and family for their recommendations. If that feels too personal, talk to your primary care physician about a referral or use the Find a Therapist tool on Psychology Today for guidance (you can find me on there!).
2. Think about your vision for your sessions.
Do you picture yourself relaxing on a couch with your feet propped up? Are you interested in incorporating mindfulness techniques into your sessions? For a more comfortable and casual setting, look for a therapist who is approachable and compassionate. Maybe you consider therapy to be a very serious step in your mental health journey. To engage in a formal relationship with your therapist, seek out someone who structures their appointments in a more grounded way.
3. Prep for your consultation call.
Most therapists offer a free consultation call for interested clients. Don’t go into this session empty-handed! To start, outline your concerns and see how the therapist responds and interacts with you. Ask them about their approach to therapy. During your conversation, try to relax and be yourself. Pay close attention to how you connect and how they make you feel.
4. Pick a time that doesn’t stress you out.
For some people, a therapy session during their lunch hour makes sense. For others, trying to squeeze this important appointment into the middle of a busy day feels overwhelming. Maybe it works better for you if you choose a time slot before or after work. If you work from home, you can even sneak in a telehealth session while your kids are in the next room building a Magna-Tile castle. When you’re scheduling your sessions, think about what time (and environment, if applicable) is most conducive to your personality.
5. Don’t be afraid to try multiple therapists until you find the right fit!
Some people mistakenly assume that, if they don’t connect with a therapist, therapy just isn’t right for them. That’s not the case at all! Set-up consultation calls with a few different options to see how different therapists approach their sessions. You may even learn something new about yourself and what you’re looking for.
It’s important to be patient as you begin therapy. It may take a few appointments before you start noticing real change. Just remember: Nothing worth doing is ever easy!