8 Tips to Help You Prepare For Therapy or Counseling Sessions

If you’ve made the decision to begin therapy or counseling sessions, then you’ve taken an important step toward a healthier, happier and more fulfilling future. You’ll want to get the most you can from these sessions, and these hints will help.

In this Mental Health Guide we discuss the top 8 tips that can help you prepare for therapy or counseling.

After you review these tips, find more detailed information by visiting the guides specific to your disorder; personality disorders, mood disorders, eating disordersanxiety & stress, substance abuse and also childhood disorders.

Think Through your Past

Many therapists will want to learn about your family of origin to get an understanding of how your early years affected your life. When you take some time to think about it, you’ll gain insight into its impact on you as well as be able to describe it to a counselor more accurately.

Know Why you are Coming for Counseling

Other counselors will ask you your immediate reason for choosing therapy. Prepare for your first counseling session by answering the question, “Why are you here today?”

Think of the Counselor as a New Friend

Developing a friendly attitude with the therapist will help you be more open.

Commit to Honesty

The counselor will help you the most when you are honest about your past, your feelings and what is going on in your life. Make the commitment to disclose anything you believe will help the therapist help you.

Take Notes

If your therapist makes suggestions to you or provides helpful insights, write them down. This will help you to keep track of them between sessions and will allow you to be most prepared for future sessions.

Write Down Thoughts and Questions Between Sessions

Make notes between sessions for questions you want to ask or issues you want to discuss the next time you meet with your therapist. Being prepared for each session will allow you to get the greatest benefit from it.

Put Suggestions into Practice

If your counselor gives you a suggestion that you believe will be helpful, seek to apply it between sessions. Applying what you are learning is the key to positive growth.

Be Patient in Finding the Right Therapist

Some people give up on counseling because they don’t “like” or feel a connection with the first therapist they see. This is unfortunate because switching counselors can often make a huge difference. If you believe the counselor you see is not a good fit for you, then let them know. They won’t take it personally and may be able to recommend someone to you who would be a better fit. It’s worth the extra effort to find a therapist with the personality, experience and perspective that can be the most helpful to you.

If you make the decision to start therapy, know what to expect and be patient and give it time to work. Your reasons for going to counseling didn’t develop overnight and it may take more than a few weeks or months of counseling to resolve them. These tips to help you prepare for therapy sessions will help you get the most benefit from them.