What is psychotherapy and how to get the most out of your session

Psychotherapy book. Photo by Morgan Harper.

What is psychotherapy and how to get the most out of your session

Psychotherapy refers to the psychological methods that professionals utilise to help treat a range of mental problems. These can include addiction and substance misuse, anxiety disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mood disorders like depression, personality disorders like borderline personality disorder (BPD) and psychotic disorders like schizophrenia.

Clients don’t need to be clinically diagnosed with any of these illnesses – anyone can benefit from psychotherapy, which is essentially just talking regularly to a counsellor, psychotherapist or mental health professional about your experiences and problems.

Practitioners help clients to identify the root cause of their trauma and how this shapes their everyday behaviours. This is not always an easy process – psychotherapy can bring up lots of painful experiences and unsettling emotions. With this in mind, we’ve put together a guide on how to get the most out of your psychotherapy sessions.

Set your intentions

There are lots of different types of therapy and different professionals use different approaches in their work.

Ask your therapist what type of therapy they specialise in, or what they specifically recommend to help with your issues. You should know the rationale behind their methods and what to expect from your sessions. If there’s any jargon or words you don’t understand used, don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Take a trusted item in with you

It can feel very soul-bearing when you first begin psychotherapy. You are talking about your deepest issues, memories, and relationships with essentially a stranger, so it’s natural to feel a little out of your comfort zone.

To keep yourself grounded, you could take something into your session with you to help you feel more grounded and relaxed. Some people like fidget toys that they can use as they’re speaking, or some people may take comfort from holding a treasured item. You may not always need this item for every session, but it’ll help you feel more at ease in the early stages.

Get comfortable in the room

Your therapy is for you – you’re well within your rights to ask the professional to help make the room feel more comfortable and safer.

This may be a case of adjusting the lighting, changing the temperature of the room, sitting somewhere different or even using cushions and blankets.

If you’re a therapist or counsellor wondering how you can make clients more comfortable, why not consider psychotherapy rooms to rent? Here at A Room in Town, our rooms are amazing for helping everyone feel more at ease – we pride ourselves on the ideal therapeutic environment for clients and practitioners alike.

Plan around the session

It’s important to recognise that your therapy session may bring up some tough feelings, and this could impact the rest of your day.

It may not be a great idea to squeeze in a therapy session on your lunch break from work, for example, as you could find yourself a bit emotionally unbalanced upon your return.

The day you have therapy should be one of self-care, so be extra kind to yourself. Grab a hot drink en route, plan for a nice walk afterwards, and do anything that relaxes you and helps you process the emotions you’ve just unpacked in your session.

You may feel like being around trusted family and friends for support, but don’t feel the need to share information with them that you don’t want to share – your sessions are allowed to be private.

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