How to Maximize Your Time in Therapy
Know the Therapy Basics
First, check out this post about important things you need to know about therapy that no one will tell you.
There’s a Time and Place for Free-Association, But First There Isn’t
Therapy sessions can and should leap from topic to topic, memory, thought, and so on. If you step back and look at the whole experience, however, you should be able to see how you are working on your plan.
With a plan in place, the flailing around and subject hopping will be anchored to your purposes. Otherwise you’re just weaving around. So yes – I’m asking you to make a plan.
Like a Grocery List, Not a Map
Your plan doesn’t have to be anything special – it could even be just a list of stuff you want to work on that you’ve communicated to your therapist, and that you don’t lose. You won’t remember what was on it, so really, don’t lose it.
The list could even be this simple:
- Social anxiety
- Problems in love life
You tell your therapist about these things, say that the social anxiety is bothering you the most, and you work on that. The other topics will get touched on, and might sometimes become the focus.
All sorts of other problems, memories, and feelings will come up, and you will focus on those too. Still, you’ll hopefully you’ll get to cross things off the list over time.
Creating a Therapy Plan
Some therapists like to work in a really intentional way – with a treatment plan. Not only do you come up with a list of what you want to work on, but you and the therapist make a plan, and agree to check in every month or two to discuss whether the plan is working.
For some this is too much, but it’s an excellent idea, especially if you have one dominant problem that’s bothering you or have trouble focusing.