Tips for New Clients

Starting therapy can feel daunting so we've pulled together our top 5 tips to help you prepare for and get the most from therapy sessions. If you are currently waiting for a space, you could start some of the tips now to get ahead. Don't worry if you're not able to do any of these tips. It could be something we also look at in therapy. People start in different places.

Tip 1 – Lean on some support

It can be helpful to consider if there is anyone in your support network who can directly or indirectly help you through your therapy journey.  They don’t need to know you’re in therapy, or what you discuss in therapy, but they may be able to offer you comfort or cheer you up if you are feeling low.  This could also be someone who you could sit comfortably with and not have to talk very much or someone who encourages you out of the house. It’s rare that one person can be all of these things, so you may have different friends, family members or colleagues who can offer you different types of support.

Tip 2 – Invest in self-care & compassion

Just like it’s important to put fuel or oil in the car, and take it for regular MOT checks, it’s important to invest in yourself.  Self-care is about doing activities that support your overall wellbeing.  These would be different things for different people. For example, if you have a sedentary lifestyle, you may need to move. However, if you are constantly on the go, or overthink a lot – self-care may mean making sure you rest well.  Self-care may also mean doing creative activities, developing a practice like mindfulness, or treating yourself to a nice coffee in a coffee shop. This process will also help you develop your self-compassion. It’s too easy to be self-critical, or really hard on yourself which just makes you feel worse. Therapy can be tiring, so it’s important that you find ways to recharge your batteries both after a session and throughout your life.

Tip 3 – Develop self-awareness

It’s easy to go through life on autopilot, without realising what you do, why you do it or the impact on yourself and/or others.  Therapy provides the space to be able to reflect or notice what you think, feel or do.  Through that reflection, sometimes you may get new insights or see choices that hadn’t been visible before.  In therapy, we encourage curiosity, without judgement, about your processes.  Processes are patterns of interconnecting thoughts, feelings and actions and the meaning you make about them.  We invite you to be curious about your processes and notice what you think feel and do in certain situations, or everyday life, which may be useful to reflect on in therapy. You can use an app like Daylio or Mooditude to do this

Tip 4 – Save reminders

Life can be really really busy, and it’s easy to forget events that you would like to explore in therapy.  Particularly if you are only attending once a fortnight.  If this is the case, it may be worth considering noting down keywords, topics, or even full thoughts and feelings as a useful reminder. Everyone is different, so find a way that works for you. It may be a keyword in a note app on your phone, or you may decide to use a journal app like Mooditude or book to express your feelings and offload.  You may also feel happy to just arrive at the session, and see what comes to mind.  It’s up to you depending on your need.

Tip 5 – Do something in between sessions

There are 168 hours in a week, and between 642-744 hours in a month.  If you’re only attending therapy twice a month, which equates to 2 hours, it would be unrealistic to expect, for example, lifelong anxiety to be more manageable in just 6 sessions (6 hours).  It can therefore help your progress towards your goals if you do engage in the tips detailed above, or other reflective activities to keep your development going through the week.  This may just mean thinking about the insights gained in a session.  Or you may conduct an experiment by doing something in a different way than you would normally.  Or an event may happen, and you take 5 mins to ask yourself what you felt and why.  Anything you actively or even passively do may just help you get a bit more from your sessions. We also understand that life can be really stressful, and if therapy is the only space where you can stop and think, that’s ok too.  If you’re stuck for ideas, why not visit the info section to explore different resources.

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