Being an active participant in your therapy is one of the best ways to ensure desired outcomes. You may go into the experience thinking..."This therapist is going to fix ALL my problems!" And while we are certainly helpful (I HOPE!), that's not exactly the attitude to achieve your goals.
Let's examine a few ways you can begin participating more, and achieving the success you desire
CHALLENGING YOUR THERAPIST
This may sound super uncomfortable for some, but please challenge us! Please ask questions, and tell us when we are wrong. If I am not getting it right, I would much rather you tell me. My goal is to help you, and if I am misunderstanding, missing the point, or just flat out wrong, I WANT TO KNOW! Trust me, we can handle the feedback.
Again, this may sound super uncomfortable. BUT, you have to remember, we are not in your mind or body. We may have a ton of tricks up our sleeves, but mind reading is not one of them. Therapy should be a safe space to explore the darkest and deepest parts of the self, and it can be profoundly healing to be witnessed in those dark spaces. Let us in, we want to hear it....the good, bad, and ugly. If you don't feel safe to explore the scary things....explore that. If you don't feel your therapist is the best fit, that is ok...shop around until you find someone that you can open up with.
DOING YOUR HOMEWORK
Sometimes, your therapist may assign you homework, and it's in your best interest to complete it. Therapy is not school, you are not getting graded. However, when homework is assigned, it is an opportunity to apply the skills discussed in therapy outside of the session. Remember, you are only in therapy (generally speaking), once per week, and the goal is for your life outside of therapy to find improvements aligned with your goals. If you don't connect with the assignment, or have a hard time completing it...just tell us! I will never be mad at a client for not completing homework, but I would like to explore the blocks that get in that way!
JOURNALING/POST THERAPY PROCESSING
A lot can come up within a therapy session, and so bringing a notebook to jot down ideas can be extremely effective. You may also choose to spend some time post-session to process your thoughts about what was discussed. Maybe you do some response art following the session, to help solidify the experience. If you haven't given this a try, I would strongly encourage it!
So there you have it, a few tips for why PARTICIPATING matters to your therapy experience!
Take Care and Be Well,