6 Tips For Working With Your Therapist

Therapy is not an easy endeavor, but it is well worth the effort. Sometimes it is helpful to have an action plan for exactly how to work with your therapist and what to expect. Therapists and coaches are not magic workers, but rather people who provide guidance and the tools to help you get where you want to go (and also help you figure out what you want).

Here are some tips for working with your therapist or personal coach:

1. Trust your therapist or coach. Going into therapy with a notion of trust will help make you more open. It does help to decide in advance that you’ve picked the right person and that they can help you. You might not necessarily get exactly the answers you were expecting, but with an open mind and with trust something better can happen. You can find yourself challenged and growing simply because you trust the process and the person—as well as yourself. Without all the questioning or skepticism, you’re skipping past weeks or months of resistance. Think about it!

2. Know what you want to discuss. Before you start therapy, it helps to have a notion of what you want to discuss and work through. Know that you don’t have to have the answers, but rather the questions. These things can be worked through, but it certainly helps to have a springboard from which to start.

3. Give it time. We’re all impatient and want results now (or better yet, yesterday!). If you think you’re going to walk into your first therapy session and walk out with all the tools you need, it’s probably not going to happen that quickly. So, give it some time and honest effort. Some of the most rewarding things in life require hard work and aren’t about a “quick fix.”

4. Be realistic. Everyone has different needs and problems to work through. The truth is that you have to be realistic on how much you can take on at one time. Everything can’t be changed at once. It’s really easy to trip yourself by having unrealistic expectations and then setting yourself up for disappointment.

5. Think for yourself. Your therapist is a human being and is not perfect. If you hear things that don’t feel right to you or aren’t helpful, speak up. If you put your therapist or coach on a pedestal and don’t think for yourself, you might end up with viewpoints that you don’t agree with or an inability to grow. The point here is to help you and to take ownership for your therapy.

6. Take action. Your therapist cannot wave a magic wand or do the work for you. Making changes is your responsibility. Most of us have mental blocks and we just don’t work on our issues on a daily basis. Taking the time out for therapy is part of taking action and getting a set of tools to use—the next step is to apply what you learn into your life. Once again, this will take time, but it’s not those quick fix changes that work, but the slow and sometimes grueling process of moving little by little each week. There’s that saying that goes you take two steps forward and one step back. So give yourself credit for those small steps.

As you keep in mind these tips, just remember that this process is about you and that your active participation is important. Therapy should be safe place and an environment where you can grow, so consider utilizing these tips for working with your therapist. For more tips on getting the most out of therapy, read my blog, Ways to Know if You Need a Therapist or Coach [link]