What do I talk about in Therapy?
Therapy works best when you take what you've learned and apply it to the rest of your week. Between sessions, notice areas in your life you'd like to explore. Some people keep a journal to write and reflect thoughts and feelings that have arisen from therapy.
Say the Odd Thoughts:
Therapy is one place where
strange thoughts are acceptable. In fact, the odder the better. Have a
sudden impulse? Say it. Flash to a certain memory, then talk about it. The phrase, 'some things are better left unsaid' doesn't
apply here so speak freely and you might learn something interesting.
Try New Things:
Therapy is a great place for thinkers to try feeling, listeners to practice talking, passive people to be assertive.
Learn to Fish:
State of the Union:
Check on your status any time during your therapy. How are the two of you working together? How well do you understand each other? Is therapy helping or hurting at this point? This is ideally a two-way discussion, with both of you sharing your thoughts.
Take the Whole Hour:
Get your money's worth by arriving a few minutes early to catch your breath, collect your thoughts and prepare for your session.
Take care of payment, scheduling and insurance questions at the start of the session. Nothing's more awkward than ending a session with a big revelation or emotional breakthrough followed by three minutes of check writing and calendar navigation. Get all those logistical issues out of the way at the beginning.
Following those business items, issues regarding the relationship with your therapist (if there are any) come next. This could be anything - you're thinking about stopping therapy, you felt angry or bored after the last session, you're worried what she thinks of you, you had a dream that might be relevant, etc. These relationship issues take top priority because they will impact all other areas of your therapy.
Be Aware of Your Therapist:
Not just who he/she is, but
who you imagine her to be. And how you imagine she/he feels about you.
Talk about your relationship in detail to see how your projections
influence this and other relationships.
you find yourself running through
mundane details of your week or hitting awkward silences, maybe there's a
deeper issue you're avoiding.
Ask what it is you're not talking about
and talk about it. Discuss what you're discovering about yourself. Take
the time to explore who you are, what you feel and why you do what you
do. Push beyond the 'it is what it is' and tackle some deeper questions.
Try: "I wonder why I ___" or: "Deep down, I really feel ___".
Engage and Enjoy:
Therapy is like enrolling in a course where you are the subject matter. If you're curious, teachable and motivated to do some work, it can be one of the most challenging but rewarding courses you ever take
Bring in dreams, daydreams and fantasies, especially those about therapy. People often have more of this material when they're in therapy. This can be incredibly rich to explore.
Keep the Energy in the Room:
people ask for change but feel
uncomfortable when it actually happens. Accept that if you're seeking
change, that it can feel uncomfortable and this may be more of a change
than you thought it would be and might affect you more than you thought
it would. Discuss this. Some things take a major life overhaul and some
are much smaller but very profound.
What do I Want? How do I Feel?:These two questions are home base for clients who feel stuck. If you find yourself lost and don't know what to talk about, revisit these questions and you're bound to find material to discuss.
Let your inner 3-year old out and ask why you behave/ think/ feel as you do. Why do I hate my boss so much? Why am I so anxious before sessions? Why does the therapist's jumper bother me?
Don't fear the End: