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How to make the most out of therapy

Making the decision to seek talk therapy can be a difficult one. An appointment is often made during times of distress with the goal of decreasing the intensity of negative emotions. It's common for patients to come in knowing that they want to feel better, but not yet having a clear idea of their specific goals. 

The most important factor for successful therapy is the relationship between the therapist and the patient. Finding the right fit for you is of utmost importance. The therapist has the role of providing support, education, and expertise; however, many patients do not have a clear idea of what their role is in the therapy relationship. 

Here are some tips for how to make the most of your sessions:

Be on time for your appointment. The 45-50-minute therapy hour goes by quickly. The way to make the most of this time is to be punctual for appointments. Coming in a few minutes early gives you time to fill out paperwork and get checked in prior to seeing your therapist so that those steps don't take up your therapy time.

Have an agenda. Come in prepared to discuss a specific problem or situation that you would like help with. This helps to guide the session and often helps patients feel like they are making progress.

Know your goals. The more specific your therapy goals are, the more likely you are to achieve them. To help you identify your goals, ask yourself, "What would I be doing, thinking or feeling if I were at my goal?"

Do your homework. If you and your therapist decided on therapy homework to complete between sessions, it's important to follow up with this so that it can be reviewed at your next session.

Give feedback. The purpose is to provide you with the care that you need. If something isn't working for you, it's important to discuss this openly. 

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