Over the past few years, we’ve experienced a ton of changes to life as we know it, due to Covid-19 and a variety of other things. Therapy, whether in person or virtual, is a tremendous gift to yourself and your wellbeing.
Make the most of your counseling sessions with these 6 tips:
1. Come early
If you’re seeing your therapist in person, arrive 10-15 minutes early where you can sit in the waiting room or stroll outdoors. This gives you a chance to relax and mentally shift from whatever came before therapy this week. You can apply this to virtual sessions as well—tell the people you live or work with that you’re occupied a few minutes before your session so that you have time to relax and shift gears. You deserve a few minutes to breathe and center your thoughts. Pro tip: you might also like to take an extra 10-15 minutes after the session to adjust back to your busy life as well!
2. Schedule accordingly
Look at your schedule for the week and try to choose a therapy time that feels best for you. Do you do best on a Monday morning before your week gets going, a Thursday night when you feel like you can finally take off your work hat, or midday on Wednesday when you can sneak away for a long lunch and break up your week? Think about the times of day when you feel most energized or calm and try not to schedule anything too intense immediately afterward. Consider which other supportive or not-so-supportive habits and activities could be moved out of the way when adding a therapy session into that time of the day or week.
3. Engage support
If it feels safe and supportive, let those close to you know that you’re seeing a therapist at that time. A powerful session can leave you needing a little space, or extra contact, or might even find you craving a special food or wanting to engage in a special activity. If the people close to you are aware, they can be most supportive of what you need. Of course, you know the people around you best, and if it feels better to keep this part of your life private, do that.
4. Mini-digital detox
Limit your social media time before and after your session on the day of therapy. You want to be able to attune to your own feelings, thoughts, and values. Sometimes, taking in a lot of extraneous stimuli can make it hard to stay connected to yourself, whether in preparation for a session or as your therapy that day is still digesting.
5. Get comfy
Have resources nearby that can help you feel supported, find comfort, and manage any extra energy that might show up. This can include reaching for a fidget toy, having water or hot tea nearby, or keeping a throw blanket pillow to squeeze nearby. If your therapist doesn’t have these on hand or if you’re having virtual therapy, honor yourself by gathering these supportive elements for your session.
6. Feel the feels
Allow yourself space during the rest of the week to explore what you discussed in therapy. If a positive memory came up, reminisce. If you learned a new skill, tool, or technique, take some time to practice it or share it with a friend. If you discovered something about yourself that you really love, see how you can embody it. If therapy this week left you feeling an urge to sleep or move around or anything else, try to honor that. And if anything left you with distress that impacted the rest of your week, share that with your therapist next time you speak.
Of course, this list could be endless… Try these few tips out and, if you find something that works for you that isn’t on this list, that’s also a win. Let me know!