Wouldn’t it be cool if there were cheat codes for therapy? Like a guide, you could look up or a Wikipedia article that will tell you exactly what you need to ace therapy. That would be amazing- but do you want to know a secret? You don’t need it. Within you, you already hold all the tools you need to be good at therapy. Even still, we want to help support you. So settle in and we’ll share with you six therapy secrets to get a head start on healing.
1.) Be ready to get uncomfortable
Staying comfortable works against you in any therapeutic setting. Think about going to physical therapy for an injured knee and keeping yourself limited to the things that already feel good! Your body would never heal and your skills won’t expand. Mental health therapy is much the same. Whether you are in anxiety, depression, family, grief counseling, or another type of therapy, there will be moments of discomfort.
When you show up willing to embrace discomfort, you’ll create the space for long-term flourishing through your short-term tension. Embrace the idea that some of the things that will be asked of you, or the emotions you’ll need to explore, will just not be fun at all. While the accomplishments they earn you may feel really good, preparing for the discomfort of getting there will embolden you to take tough steps for magnificent results.
2.) Let logic take a back seat
Logic doesn’t always see eye to eye with the mental health maladies that are keeping you in a state of distress. Anxiety in particular is no friend to logic and has an insidious talent for using it to amplify the feelings of distrust and worry. Letting go of logic and embracing a more holistic approach to exploring your emotions can offer you the freedom to feel. And feeling all your feelings exactly as they appear makes them much easier to confront.
When logic leads, you may have roadblocks to truly examining your emotional existence as it introduces things you know not to be true. Logic will layer shame, guilt, and frustration atop your feelings and that won’t help anyone. So show up ready to set logic aside, and let your emotions and your therapist’s expertise be your secret weapon to being good at therapy.
3.) Embrace the opportunity to learn
The adage that you “can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is one we’ve all heard but it’s also just not true. You can absolutely learn new ways to adapt to familiar experiences— and when you’re ready to come to therapy, you’re also ready to embrace that truth. The hungrier you are for new knowledge and experiences, the more therapy tips you’ll be able to incorporate into the way you do life. The learning you’ll do will expand not only your emotional toolbox but the way you view your inner and outer worlds.
Learning can be difficult and it will demand that you bring in the other two secrets we’ve already learned. Getting uncomfortable and releasing logic’s judgment on your mental health will expand your potential in therapy and beyond.
4.) Identify your goals
What do you want to get out of therapy? Asking yourself this question can help you shape the relationship you want to build with the challenges that plague you, as well as determine the order in which you want to address your needs.
The most urgent stressors should contribute to developing your first goals and they can be as big or as small as you want them to be.
Contacting a therapist can be a goal. Showing up to your first appointment can be a goal. From there, you can work with the supportive expert you choose to develop sustainable and specific goals that move you toward the mental health hopes you hold for yourself. Goals should be specific and attainable, requiring some challenge but not so lofty that you discourage yourself from reaching them.
The best goals will also be flexible, able to grow with you and adapt to any changes that crop up along the way. They should also ask you to lean on the secrets you’ve already learned to develop and work toward them. They won’t be too easy, or too hard. Goldilocks goals are best.
5.) Prioritize trust
Choosing the right therapist is the first step to putting trust at the center of your therapy growth. The work you’ll do in therapy is deeply personal and can involve exploring trauma that provokes your vulnerability. A trusting relationship with your therapist is key to creating lasting change that will empower you to heal and build fulfillment in your life.
Trust in therapy means that you’ll trust your therapist to have your best interest in mind—in times of support and challenge. It asks you to know, at the core of you, that the things they ask of you are to help you accomplish the goals you’ve set for yourself. You’ll need to trust in your ability to identify a relationship that feels beneficial to you, and trust in their education and compassion that they can help guide you on the path of awakening a future that feels right for you.
6.) Commit to the process
The process of therapy isn’t a quick one. As with all things, growth will require patience and care—each of which demands you are committed to the experience as a whole. The goals, the journey, and the end result must all be valued to wholly embrace a therapy commitment. What is growth without commitment? Puppies and pokemon both require time to reach their full potential. Even bread must prove and rise before you bake it.
Commit to your own potential by showing up with the full might of who you are. Allow your strength to fuel the experience of growth. Although “strength” in this case is perhaps a misnomer. Sometimes, the strength of your commitment may look like being able to recognize where you are weakest, when you are tired and where to find boundaries. Each of those recognitions is incredibly powerful, and beautifully illustrates the commitment you’ve offered to your own growth.
You’re going to be great at therapy
And do you know how we know? Because you already are. Within you, you already have all of the skills and tools you need to grow into the possibility that permeates the pain you currently feel. You are prepared to take on all that you’ve been to become all that you can be.
If you ever doubt yourself, or you need a reminder, we will be here. Return to this space for reminders on therapy tips you’re already well on your way to embracing. We are so proud of you, and the Awakened Path ahead of you.