How to get the most out of therapy
Are you thinking of making an appointment with a psychologist? Have you been in a psychotherapeutic process for some time, and you feel stuck? Don't you know what to say to your psychologist when you are in session? If at some point you have considered going to see a therapist but haven't taken the step, or you don't see the results you were hoping for, read on. Below we will give you the keys to getting the most out of your psychologist.
Finding the right psychologist and creating the therapeutic relationship that best suits our needs can be a significant obstacle to initiating change. Each of us, as human beings, is unique and unrepeatable, so each treatment will have to be specific to each person. It is like when we have a headache; some will endure the pain, others will lie in bed until it goes away, and others will take ibuprofen or paracetamol. In other words, not everything works for everyone. However, there are a series of universal factors that, if we take them into account, can help us to make the most of the therapy.
Factors that predict a better outcome in therapy
Over the last few years, numerous studies have focused on trying to elucidate the determining factors that best predict the success of a psychological process. Knowing which aspects we can look at can help you make the right decision:
You, the client, are the protagonist: Your personality traits, character or previous experiences condition the final results up to 40% (according to Michael Lambert's studies). For example, if you are optimistic, focused on finding solutions, capable of transforming difficulties into challenges and have a good support network, it is easier to obtain good results than if you are more pessimistic or tend to get frustrated quickly. Therefore, you must do your part and play an active role in your therapeutic process if you want to see the full results.
Communication and openness: We refer to the everyday aspects essential for the work between psychologist and client to be satisfactory. Maintaining good communication, being proactive, listening, establishing a bond of trust, and being open to criticism are aspects of the client and the psychologist that predict 30% of success.
Adjusting expectations: The extent we trust our therapists and their tools predicts 15% of psychotherapeutic success. In other words, being aware of the process in which we are immersed and adjusting our desires versus our abilities and what therapy can do will help us get what we need.
Techniques and experiences: According to Michael Lambert, 15% of the success of psychotherapy depends on the psychologist's expertise, specialisation and continuing education.
What can I do to get more out of therapy?
Don't forget that you are the protagonist and have an active role in achieving your goals. As we often say, it is a personal and non-transferable decision that can help you continue to grow and increase the feeling that you are in charge of your destiny; for this, there are several aspects that you can pay attention to.
Build trust: Your therapist will accompany you in the process and take into account your current situation and the context in which you live to propose the best possible solutions. They are responsible for creating a welcoming atmosphere so that you feel safe. From there, it is up to you to allow them to access a higher level of trust in which you can find the right key to solve your problems by taking advantage of your resources. Try not to disqualify or judge what they tell you; they aren't doing it to make you uncomfortable or catch you in an awkward situation.
Sincerity: Don't lie to your psychologist. Of course, you can hide details of your life, but misleading your therapist will not get the results you were hoping for. The more open you are, the better the communication during the sessions. Psychologists are not in the business of making moral judgements about your actions; they are there to accompany you so that you can get to know yourself better.
On the other hand, psychologists do not have magic wands and cannot read minds. So if you have something important to discuss, tell them and allow them to explore the topic with you.
Punctuality: It is essential to respect each other, and one of the ways we can show that respect is by being punctual. One of the few things that depend on us is our time management. We know that time is the same for everyone, that it has value and that we like it more or less. However, it is inexorable; it always moves forward, and we cannot stop it. So try to be respectful with the hours and if you are not able to attend, try to let us know in advance.
You take the reins; the psychologist accompanies you: Remember that, although we would all like to solve our problems from one day to the subsequent, psychological work takes time. Likewise, no matter how much the psychologist builds trust and gets the treatment right, the result will not be entirely satisfactory for you if you don't make a move. It is as if you were the driver in a rally and the psychologist were your co-driver. He can guide you, but he cannot drive for you.
Face your fear: The psychologist is a specialist in understanding human behaviour, but the expert in your life is you. The psychologist knows about maps, but you are on the ground. It is expected that doubts arise or we do not fully grasp an idea they transmit to us. Don't worry, it's normal. The good thing about the psychologist is that it is a space for open dialogue in which you can ask anything you need to clarify. It is your right to resolve your doubts if that makes you feel more confident and involved in the treatment. If something doesn't fit, review it with your psychologist and don't hesitate to confront what doesn't work.
Let go: don't hold back: We live under a lot of tension and high levels of stress that make us alert and try to control everything that happens around us and what happens to our loved ones. Remember that your psychology session is a space of pause, where time runs differently, and you can allow yourself to relax and let go. As a space of trust and safety, you can unburden yourself and express all you have been repressing throughout the week. You are allowed to cry, be angry at your circumstances, let off steam, complain, or shout for joy.
Share: If you want to learn something, practice. And there is no better way to practice than to share it with others. Sharing what you are learning and how you are feeling will reinforce what you have learned and make you feel better because you are helping someone else, but you can also feel proud to be part of the change.
Make sure it offers concrete goals: It is essential to discuss how the practitioner works, how we will set goals and how to achieve them. In the first few sessions, you can set goals and deadlines to assess whether or not they have been met.
Evaluate the goals: Once you have chosen a psychologist and are already working on your mental health, don't forget to have your criteria. If you think that you are not reaching the goals set at the beginning, tell them, and if the proposed solution to this problem does not convince you, feel free to change therapist.
But also bear in mind that everything takes time. Sometimes when we notice a slight improvement, we think we can cope with everything. So don't be in a hurry. Instead, evaluate the steps you have taken so far, celebrate your achievements and allow yourself to be guided to continue to grow.
Please don't leave at the first sign of change: Take advantage of the trust you have built up to tell him about your doubts. Tell them that you see an improvement and are thinking of leaving the practice. It is just as essential to start on the right foot as to close on a good note and know how to say goodbye to things. Your psychologist will guide you so that you can continue to improve, prevent relapses and keep your focus on what is essential.
In short, the mere idea of going to a psychologist and making an appointment is a big step forward. Wanting to take care of yourself and improve your mental health is one of the best investments you can make. It involves courage, commitment, a desire to improve and self-care.
Do l and remember that a large part of the change is in your hands. If you want to take control of your life, trust your psychologist, be honest and try to put into practice what you work on during the psychology sessions. Allow yourself to let go of everything that oppresses you and learn to enjoy the little things that life gives us.
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