Working With Your Therapist

I wanted to share some tips on how to best work with your therapist to get the most out of the therapeutic process.  The ideas for the tips shared in this post were taken from the Couples Therapy Homework Planner.

There are several different types of mental health providers with different levels of education, skills, and experiences. Because of this, it can be very difficult to figure out who is right for you. The good news is that there are several steps that you can take, to ensure that you get the type of service you desire.

Communicating With Your Therapist

  1. Talk to your therapist about what’s worked for you. Whether you have had therapy in the past or this is your first experience, you probably have a sense of what works for you. While all therapists have different sets of expertise, you are an individual. This means that in order for your services to be tailored to best meet your needs, your therapist needs you to communicate what works best.
  2. Share when your therapist does something that you find helpful. It is very important to share when your therapist does something helpful. Whether it’s particular questions he/she has asked, or an exercise that you have done, the therapist needs to know this. This enables him/her to stay on the same page with you throughout the process.
  3. Share what doesn’t work. It is also just as important to share what is not working. This way your therapist will be able to avoid repeating mistakes and possibly alienating you in the process.
  4. Express your expectations. Speak with your therapist about what your goals are for the process. This way you will be able to set the agenda for your therapy. This will help you and your therapist stay focused throughout the process on what’s most important to you.
  5. Feel free to disagree. If your therapist says or does something that you don’t agree with make sure you share this. This is your service, and you need to feel comfortable with what is happening.
  6. Ask questions. It’s important to ask questions as you have them. This could include questions about your therapist’s training, background, and approach to therapy. Your therapist will work to ensure that appropriate boundaries are maintained. He/she will let you know if a question is too personal, or if it will take away from the focus of therapy.
  7. Ask for clarification. We therapists have certain jargon that we use to communicate with each other. This however, can be confusing for you. Make sure that you ask for clarification if you do not understand the meaning of something.

One of the reasons that therapy can be helpful for many people is that it provides the opportunity to practice new behaviors in a safe environment. The above list can also be used as a guide for how to set appropriate boundaries with individuals in your personal life.

I hope you find this helpful as your work to find the best support for you in your journey towards well being.

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