1.Find a therapist you feel comfortable with
It’s important that you find your therapist sympathetic and likable – this helps build trust and feel comfortable discussing complex topics. It’s worth investing time in finding the right person, even if you are recommended someone who is competent and experienced, it doesn’t automatically mean that you will feel comfortable with them.
2.Express your needs and emotions during the therapy process
It may not be easy due to trust issues, but no therapist knows everything, they don’t know what’s best for you at the moment, and they don’t take responsibility for your decisions. Most likely, your therapist will try different therapeutic techniques, explore your reactions to different topics, formulate various hypotheses about what is happening in your life, and if these proposed techniques or work directions do not suit you, let them know.
3.Ask about qualifications and experience
If your therapist is not in constant contact with their supervisor, do not cooperate with them. In the process of psychotherapy, there is a risk of subtle abuse, and at best, psychotherapy will likely be longer and less effective.
4.Don’t expect ready-made solutions to your problems
Problematic situations are complex precisely because you are the only main problem. Psychotherapeutic work will focus on you so that you can find out what is happening inside you and make a more conscious choice.
5.Be prepared to work on the therapeutic relationship
Sometimes it’s not easy for the client, but they can realize many things. It’s not the only direction of work, so if it’s difficult for you to work in this way, tell your therapist.
6.Working with the past in psychotherapy is just one of many topics that can be focused on during sessions
For many people, working in psychotherapy is automatically associated with working on complex relationships and situations from the past. While it is true that addressing this topic often allows for a lot of insight into the nature of current problems, it also requires the experience of the therapist and the client’s consent to address these complex issues. Without these, such work is meaningless.
7.If you expect a radical change in your life, be prepared to work longer
Many problems in your life that cause suffering stem from difficult childhood experiences or frequently recurring dysfunctional patterns of behavior. In such cases, it is not realistic to expect the situation to improve after 2-3 months. At the same time, if you feel that your self-work is not improving, talk to your psychotherapist about it and consider trying to work with someone else.
8.Work with only one psychotherapist
There can be many different paths to the same goal, but meeting with two psychotherapists at the same time can create a sense of chaos and confusion. If you can’t decide, try a few sessions with one and then with the other.
9.I am only your psychotherapist
Most psychotherapists will not want to work with you and your loved ones (especially with your family), often even after terminating therapeutic contact. It is difficult to be on both sides of the conflict at the same time. When I work with couples, I tell them from the beginning that I am the “therapist for their relationship” – it is not possible for me to meet with them individually.
10.You have the right not to know which topic to address during sessions, but…
… it would be good if it was only a temporary stage of the psychotherapy process. Your therapist will definitely support you in deciding on the topic of the sessions – your feelings, thoughts, and fantasies are the best indicators of the problems, doubts, or unacceptable situations that need to be addressed. Awareness of these issues significantly increases the effectiveness of psychotherapy.