How to get the most out of therapy? Be a good client and find a therapist you mesh with well.

Easier said than done!

There's a lot of talk about what makes a good therapist and for the most part, that is biased depending upon who writes the article. Every therapist has a different style and offers something unique to their clients. For some therapists, "homework" is a taboo topic. For others, adding homework options help support the client in their journey toward wellness and often can be a cost efficient way to progress.

Like any profession, there are some great and some duds in therapy, coaching or spirituality.

Because there is an element of vulnerability in therapy or coaching,  it is important that the therapist-client relationship is positive. This will help you to be more empowered.  

Of note, remember that if you have a great relationship with a therapist, even if they are not say, certified in EMDR or Tapping, that they may still be able to help you more than a therapist you have hardly any compatibility with who is certified. The strategies are just tools and resources, but the science under all of them is fairly similar.

The Therapist-Client Relationship is the Most Powerful Part of the Healing Process- NOT the Modalities or Strategies. You need to bring these five mindsets to the session on your end, for the relationship to flourish.

Since this is a professional relationship, it isn't just up to the therapist to develop the relationship but also the client, for optimal results.

Here are 5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Therapy

1. Don't try to be the therapists friend.


While you might seek advice from friends those conversations do not require a certain level of competency that puts you as the only beneficiary of the conversation, a plan, a goal or purpose. Your therapist is not there to be a friend; while they may be friendly that's not the goal.

To get the most out of therapy, you might want to release the idea that the therapist has to be your friend; don't get insulted if they balk at or outright refuse to get together with you or attend personal events.  

You and your friends are equals; you and your therapist are not. It is not that the therapist ranks higher; rather they are your emotional civil servant of sort. Every action of your therapist (or coach) must be directed only toward one goal, that goal is helping you.  In friendship, the benefits should be balanced. 

If you attempt to befriend your therapist, dig deep. Do you feel uncomfortable with the idea that the therapy time or relationship is something you are worthy of? Do you feel that the therapist needs to take care of "themselves" instead of you? Discuss this with your therapist; they will help you sort out your feelings.

2. You focus on the plans and stand in your truth.

I know this seems like a given, but clients sometimes do not want to stick to the plan, treatment, strategy or goals; this needs to be discussed with the therapist if there is either resistance or self-sabotage creeping in. 

If you begin a program with the therapist but every session you say things like "That's not what I want to talk about this week, I want to talk about how bad traffic was". or other more superficial situation, you are not going to find much progress. It is completely normal to spend a few minutes venting off some of the more topical stressors, but if you side-step your plan, you are well, side-stepping your plan. 

The therapist will often try different strategies to help you to uncover why you are resisting.

Part of your plan is showing up on time, not missing sessions, and making sure you are committed to the process.

Standing in your truth means you don't lie in therapy; don't try to impress the therapist. Be your true, authentic self. This is the space where you do not have to have a mask, protection or be anyone you are not. 

That being said - you never go into therapy blindly trusting a therapist. The therapists job is to build trust. It is irrational to expect anyone to blindly trust a stranger, especially if you've had trauma and your coping strategy is to not blindly trust!

Focus on your plans, stand in your truth; that is how you get the most out of therapy.

3. Release the need to blame, compare or judge.

In many situations, the client has been wronged; sometimes in ways that are unthinkable. While sessions are important spaces to be open and have a voice, sometimes relaying the same story over and over without a focus on self-healing, is almost training yourself to be more anxious, bitter, angry, depressed, or stuck.

Your therapist might try to circle you back; please note that it isn't because they want to silence you but they are making efforts to break patterns that might be holding you back.

4. To be a powerful client, think about your end result.

When I say "powerful" I mean you are empowered. The end result is your line in the sand that says you know you are able to be less focused on therapy.

Mind you, you can also note that therapy is available to you as a support. I myself, have an open-ended therapy appointment every week. I use that time to decompress from my own practice, and to touch on self-exploration. If I was going to therapy for an event or situation, I need to have an end result idea of when I know therapy will be "done".  

Not every therapist discusses this with their clients and sometimes it might be up to you to decipher. If it is a relationship issue, say a betrayal; do you just want to be able to look them in the eye? Do you want to forgive and move on? Do you want to forgive and trust them again?

It can't be just the situation itself that you focus upon but your end result. Note that therapy might even change that end-result for you.  Know what you want and keep focused on how to heal.

5. Honor yourself

Do not be hard on yourself. Know that healing is not linear. Expect regressions and moments where you feel self-sabotage creeping in; these do not mean you are hopeless or unable to heal.

In fact, you are in the healing process when you recognize you can honor yourself.

Many traumas and abuses, conflicts and betrayals might cause you to feel that you are unworthy or unable to see happiness again. Having hope and honoring yourself - not just your limits but you potential - is key to your therapeutic journey.

These five mindsets will help you be a better client and an empowered client.

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