By Jennifer Stringham, LMFT
Taking the first step to starting therapy is a major undertaking. It will require work, vulnerability and time. That being said, the relief that can come from doing the work is worth all of this.
The range of reasons that one might want to start therapy can range from:
Needing support with decision making
Navigating life events
All of these reasons are valid and worthy of therapy. This article will support you in ensuring that (A) you get a better understanding of what therapy can do for you, and (B) ensure that you are on the right path to achieve your goals.
Research has shown that talk therapy can be as helpful as taking medication. Therapists work with you to identify maladaptive thoughts and images that bring up upsetting emotions and find ways to either cope with them or distance yourself from them. Together, you will work on finding evidence for these thoughts and search for alternative meaning.
Therapy can assist in the healing process of trauma. By detaching from your trauma and making new meaning of your experience, you can return to a life that feels whole. Not addressing these issues can lead to triggers, which then can turn into disruptive relationships, impulsive behaviors, and just feeling like a mess.
Your trauma does not have to be you. It can just be a part of your narrative.
In order to make the most of therapy, one must have faith in the process. Leaning into the process and allowing yourself to be vulnerable is a first step to the healing process. Part of this process is navigating difficult topics with your therapist. If you feel like you’re not being seen and heard by your therapist, express this so that they can adjust how they are working with you.
Tips to having fruitful sessions:
Come prepared: Have goals and present issues to work on.
Practice self care: Have something planned like a walk or time to process through journaling or art.
Be kind to yourself when you struggle with the things that brought you to therapy. Rewriting your narrative takes time.
Keep a “thought log” or a journal to allow you to see the progress you are making and areas that need improvement.
Lastly, if you are working with a Foresight therapist, complete your weekly quizzes sent to you. This allows you to see your growth and reduction in symptoms. You will be surprised how you can grow in the course of treatment with a little bit of insight that comes through working with a therapist.
Set aside this time for yourself and your healing process. If you want to get stronger for the marathon you run often and regularly. If you want to get better at reducing depression and anxiety symptoms you must practice often and consistently.