mental health

How to Make the Most Out of Therapy (+) Notecard Activity

I believe everyone can more or less benefit from therapy. I myself have been in therapy for the past awhile. I was also in therapy on and off when I was younger, but it was more focused on my family dynamics that benefiting my own issues. This time I do have the chance to solely focus on myself in therapy, and I have been making immense progress.

What kept me from making progress at first were a few issues on my end. First of all, I was doubtful of my therapist. She certainly never did anything wrong. I just had an aversion to therapy because my family influenced my previous therapist that I was a liar about abuse, thus I never got helped I needed. I was also afraid to talk about certain topics with my current therapist, or I would end up rambling about nothing in particular. I was also unprepared for each appointment. It’s clear that I was avoiding getting down to my root issues. I was doing great at first, but the deeper we got, the more I used avoidance techniques. Otherwise, wasting time.

When people are beginning to confront their core issues, or deep emotions, they reel back and pull away. In this case, I would not use my time in therapy productively. I was just being a coward. Then when the day came that I developed a “I don’t care anymore”/ apathetic/stoic attitude I became able to deal with my core issues.

Being an advocate in a domestic/sexual abuse and sex trafficking shelter, I know how it works. Therapists deal with just about everything, and nothing can really be that unusual after a certain point. So I figured I have freedom to be as honest as possible. Again, I had nothing to lose at this point.

In therapy, just be completely honest. You are paying a trained person to help you. You shouldn’t really care what they think, as that isn’t what therapy is about. Therapy is sometimes difficult, but so is life.

I began by telling my therapist I was still kind of doubtful of her. I knew it would be awkward to do so, but I figured therapists are excellent at dealing with awkwardness. I said we worked well together and I liked her, but it’s just my view of admitting to myself that I need a therapist. We talked it out for the rest of the session. My solution is that I have nothing left to lose by putting effort into therapy. It is kind of like my “idfc” attitude. If I am paying her, or, well, my insurance, then I might as well just do what I’m supposed to do. I’d be stupid otherwise.

To remove the barrier of being off topic and being unprepared, I made notecards for myself. Each notecard has an issue or topic that I need to sort through, and has the major points or certain details on it. Additionally, on the day before my appointment I write down what I want to do with that appointment itself. Then afterwards I write down the key takeaways from the appointment.

Since I’m slightly obsessive about the appearance of everything I write down, I do little headers and creative forms of bullet points. You can bother to make it look nice, but it might be a little weird for people to see you decorate topic reminders for therapy.

Having this guideline keeps me on track so I keep going linearly forward in my progress. Often times I have to step in and say in the beginning of the appointment, “This is what I would like to talk about. Do you agree this is relevant?” Once we exhaust the topic, I ask her “What do you think we should work on?” I find this useful in staying on track.

I will be starting EMDR therapy to process past trauma, so I will probably expand on this later.

Is there any questions people have for me? There are a lot of thoughts on this, but I’m unsure of what is beneficial for people to know.

 

 

 

 

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