Life is busy, weeks fly by and most people I talk to are hustling and grinding, yearning for a pause button to regroup (even though we’re only in Feb!).
Making time to prioritise your mental health, give yourself space to think, reflect and plan is a brilliant step.
But that single hour with your therapist is only a tiny drop in the rapids ride of modern life!
Here’s my suggestion for how to get more out of your therapy session so that you can action the changes you’d really love to make.
1// Arrive early: take a moment to release the daily buzz and settle your thoughts.
Don’t think of it as one hour (technically its only 55 mins!). Set aside 15-20 minutes before your appointment to ponder what you’d like to discuss, what things have been happening and what situations you might be seeking support on.
Take some time to sit in quiet, allow yourself to fully ‘arrive’ and begin to focus on what you need out of the session.
2// Write down: record, recall and reflect on what you’re keen to address/discuss.
I’m a big fan of journaling and writing tools to help stimulate the way we notice, express and map our thoughts, patterns and emotions.
I’ll be leaving some notepads and pens out in the waiting room for you to use if you can make it earlier (or perhaps spend some time in a local café prior).
I encourage you to even have your own dedicated personal growth/reflection/journal notebook that you might use to help you track the issues, your emotions and the ideas and resources we mention in session.
Sometimes people use their phones to record voice memos or take notes, this works too. The idea is simply that you have space to think about what’s been happening and what you *might* want to chat about. Keep in mind though, this isn’t a shopping list – you don’t have to tick everything off or remember all the items. What we actually end up discussing is probably exactly what you needed to discuss!
3// Let it settle: sit with the conversation, reflect and plan for your next steps.
Many times when I see people they rush in the door and then straight out onto the next task, chore or responsibility. This doesn’t give yourself much space to allow the session to percolate and the ideas wiggle into your memory.
Allowing yourself some time at the end of the session to review the themes, ideas and resources (which I try to send you In the following days) and plan how you might tackle some of the tasks (from having that awkward conversation or booking into a gym class).
I have some little proformas that I share to help you anchor in the key themes we explore. You can add to this however you like – the 3 questions I ask are:
- Main themes or ideas/issues discussed?
- My insights or learning from the session?
- What ‘home play’ or practice activities will you use?
I’d love for you to give these ideas a try, so that your sessions have more impact in helping you cement in positive change! Let me know how it goes….