If you sit down in your therapist’s office only to find your mind goes completely blank, don’t worry, you’re not the only one! A lot of people don’t know where to start when it comes to getting the conversation started in a therapy session.
But with some guidance from your therapist and our handy tips, you can jump this hurdle and get the most out of your sessions.
In our article below you’ll find some topics that we believe would be productive icebreakers to get the ball rolling in your therapy sessions, as well as how you can tell if therapy is working for you. But first, let’s set some expectations if therapy is new to you.
What Should You Expect From Therapy?
Therapy can be extremely valuable for those looking to improve their mental health and wellbeing. Still, it’s good to know what to expect from therapy before you head to your first session.
The first step in therapy is to pinpoint the goals you would like to achieve.
For example, do you want to know how to manage your anxiety? Or do you want to move on from unhealthy coping mechanisms? When you have a better idea of what your objectives are, you can begin creating a treatment plan with your therapist.
Therapy usually involves weekly appointments where you talk about your thoughts and feelings. Your therapist may also give you homework, like practicing relaxation or meditation techniques or journaling.
However, the most effective form of therapy is one where you actively participate. It’s important to be honest with your therapist about your thoughts and feelings. On that note, let’s take a look at a few topics you can discuss with your therapist.
Why You’re There
Talking to a stranger about our thoughts and feelings is understandably nerve wracking. If you’re unsure what you want to discuss in your first appointment, you can begin by talking to your therapist about why you’re there in the first place.
This doesn’t just break the ice, but lets your therapist know what areas they need to focus on.
Life Challenges And Changes
We will all experience challenges and changes in our lives, but we don’t have to face these alone. Therapy can help you plan your next steps and manage your feelings about these challenges and changes.
If coping with your thoughts and feelings is a challenge then your therapist can teach you healthy coping strategies like journaling and meditation to help you manage your negative thoughts and feelings.
Your Hopes And Fears About The Future
What are your hopes and fears? This is an important question to ask in therapy, as our hopes and fears can be huge motivating factors in our lives, and can help you gain a deeper understanding of yourself.
Regardless of how small, insignificant, or embarrassing a thought or topic seems, therapy is an open place where you can discuss anything.
While it’s easier said than done, don’t be afraid to open up about experiences or feelings that you might be ashamed of.
Your therapist isn’t there to judge. They are there to help you.
What Should You Talk About When Things Are Going Well?
When things are going well it can be difficult to know what to talk about in therapy. Still, it’s crucial to keep attending your sessions even when things are going well.
This is because preventative maintenance is so important for mental health. Think about it like visiting your dentist for a routine teeth cleaning.
In a similar way, you should keep attending your therapist appointments even when things are going well. This makes sure that small problems don’t escalate into bigger ones.
So if things are going well for you, feel free to celebrate that in your therapy sessions. We’re sure your therapist would be delighted to hear it, as they only want the best for you.
This also helps you foster a sense of gratitude for what you’ve achieved in order to get your mental health to the good place it’s currently in.
How Can You Tell If Therapy Is Working Out For You?
Have you been going to therapy for a while, but are unsure if it’s working for you? Perhaps your therapist isn’t really helping you with your issues and it doesn’t seem like you’re noticing results.
But therapy requires effort and time to work. So let’s take a look at a few subtle signs that therapy is beginning to make a difference, even if it doesn’t seem like it initially.
While you may not have noticed, how you perceive yourself has a big impact on your mental health. However, if you’re beginning to view yourself more positively and can more easily identify your strengths, then it could be a sign that therapy is working.
You may also find it easier to open up. While it can be hard to open up about your feelings and thoughts, it’s essential that you do so in therapy.
As you start to become more comfortable in your therapy sessions, you might find yourself opening up about issues you may have never dreamed of talking about before.
This could be a sign that therapy is working for you.
If you’ve started to make positive changes in your life such as improving your diet, exercising more, or walking away from a toxic relationship, it could be therapy that has inspired these changes.
No matter if the change is big or small, it could indicate that therapy is playing a role in these changes.
There are no correct or incorrect topics to talk about in therapy, you’re simply talking to your therapist. If you would like to know where to start however, some good first steps would be the topics we’ve mentioned above.
It’s also important to keep attending your therapy sessions even when life is going well, as preventative maintenance is crucial when it comes to ensuring good mental health.
Therapy takes time to work, and even if it’s hard to notice, there are elements in your life you can look to to see the positive effect therapy has on your life.