Coming into therapy is a big step, it is an investment in yourself and you want to get the most out of that investment.

In today’s article we explore ways you can make your therapy work when your not sitting in front of your therapist.

Here are a few suggestions.

Know what your goals are and be clear about where you want to go:

Your therapist can help you to explore what it is you actually want to accomplish in therapy. Some people want to build skills, some people just want someone to listen to them, some people want to do a deep dive into the patterns of their lives. Know what it is you want and communicate this clearly to your therapist. Ensure that both you and your therapist are working toward the same thing.

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Explore what your boundaries are:

Many people are not certain about what boundaries are, and how they help us define what we want our experience to be. Boundaries are an important part of how we define ourselves, and how others define us.

Write out what is acceptable to you and what isn’t, this is the beginning of the exploration.

Write up your wants and needs:

Wants and needs are different and sometimes we can confuse these things. A need is something necessary to live and function. A want is a desire for something that could potentially improve our quality of life. If you are clear about these differences your therapy can go deeper because you aren’t needing this clarified in the session. Therapists help people to explore these areas.

Write an autobiography:

In fact, you can write many autobiographies about your life. You can write one about conflicts you have experienced. You can write one about the relationships you’ve had in your life, your childhood experiences, sex and pleasure. A great one to explore is money and your relationship with it. Autobiographies can be very cathartic and helpful to your therapy process. Often in your sessions, you are talking to your therapist about the interchange between past and present writing up all of your past can help you to be more focussed on seeing the patterns that play out in the present.

Practice the suggestions your therapists makes:

This one can be challenging, because resistance is very strong in every human. When we don’t follow through on what is discussed within a session, resistance can set in, and we can often just forget what our therapist had suggested.

Practice Awareness:

Awareness is the key to change. Awareness is also a practice that takes time and skill development. Awareness is a hear and now experience so you have to practice being present in the here and now to build awareness. Awareness is the idea of watching what is occurring in the present moment. If you are not practised in the art of watching, you will find that awareness is a very hard skill to develop.

Awareness is also the key to all change, you cannot change something you are not aware of. People can point things out to you over and over again and you still won’t change it because it is in your subconscious. We must bring what is unconscious into the conscious so we can begin to explore what change needs to occur.

Talk to people about being in therapy:

Often what you will find when you talk to people about therapy is that they’re also in therapy. Many people have a lot of negative beliefs about what therapy is and when you begin to talk to people, you will find out that it is not uncommon. Sometimes, when you talk to others about what you are learning in therapy, you will find that you become the teacher as well. This communing with others about the changes you’re making helps the change to integrate into your experience.

Explore your core values and beliefs:

Part of the therapeutic process is to explore what your values and beliefs are. There are many ways to do this, often I will explore this in sessions by encouraging people to write out their should’s, pay attention to how often you say, should, or how often you hear others say, should to you. Behind every should there is a value or a belief. Here is a great article to help you explore that.

Create Self Compassion:

The word compassion means to be with suffering. Many of us do not like our own suffering so we engage in all kinds of behaviours to avoid our own pain. When we learn how to find compassion for ourselves, we inadvertently learn how to be with our own suffering, which then allows us to work through the emotions and experiences that we are avoiding.

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