How to get the most out of your mental health journey
After my freshman year of college, all I knew was that I was miserable. And miserable people go to therapy. I was in the fog of depression for months, and making choices didn’t feel possible. My first year at Auburn University was a blur of graphic design classes, eating Nutella from the jar in bed, and feeling isolated among thousands of students.
My mom’s psychiatrist recommended Susie, and that was good enough for me. I attended my intake appointment and remember she administered a few assessments and asked questions about my health history and my life. We began a routine of weekly hour-long sessions. And I still didn’t understand what therapy was or what it was doing for me. But a few months slipped by, and the fog started to lift.
Ten years and more than a few personal and professional metamorphoses later, I’m a clinical therapist and private practice owner. So…how exactly did all of that change occur? Explaining the last 10 years would take more than a blog post, so I distill here my top 3 tips to help you fully embrace the transformative power of therapy.
1. Be Open
Therapy isn’t linear, and there’s not only one way to do it. Each session will be different. Sometimes it’ll feel like you’re not getting anywhere, and you’ll feel frustrated. Keep going. Accept that while you don’t know exactly how you’ll get better, it will happen. Holding onto rigid views about what therapy should be like only hold you back. In my experience, clients who have inflexible expectations of therapy often struggle to grow as much or as deeply. A closed mind becomes a barrier quite quickly in therapy.
If you feel resistance to a suggestion, activity, or tip your therapist presents, be open and lean into the process! It may surprise you what you learn.
2. Keep Going, ESPECIALLY When It’s Hard
The emotional, triggering, and distressing moments are an essential part of the therapeutic process. People often get freaked out when therapy gets rough. Wait, isn’t therapy supposed to make you feel better?
Well, yes, but maybe not at first. In the beginning, you’re unearthing A LOT. Emotions and experiences you’re aware of, and some that you’re not, are coming to the surface. It can be exhausting and draining. It can feel counterproductive. However, it is essential to the healing process. Buried issues don’t stay buried. They come up in other ways in your life, often negatively. In therapy, you’ve got to face them if you want to get anywhere.
3. Take the Work Beyond Your Therapist’s Office
One-on-one time with your therapist is wonderful, but I encourage you to take it to another level. Therapy is the starting point for you to develop new skills, insights, and tools to implement in your daily life. Your therapeutic experience should directly connect to your world outside of therapy for you to transform. It takes practice and intention but will become more intuitive and natural over time!
It may help to ask your therapist for worksheets, actionable tasks, and exercises that you can practice when you’re not in session.
If are looking for help to get a handle in your busy reach visit our website https://www.lifeskillsresourcegroup.com/ or 407.355.7378 to schedule an appointment.