How to Gain The Most Benefit From A Psychotherapy Session

This article lists simple, practical and effective steps you can take to insure that your counseling or therapy experience results in the greatest benefit possible.

The decision to meet with a counselor or psychotherapist is not an idle investment of time, energy or money.  I've compiled this set of suggestions to help make the process to be as useful and meaningful as possible, based on my extensive professional experience in this field.

Taking just a few minutes with the following questions can help focus your time with a therapist to bring about the best possible outcome.  All good athletes "warm up" in order to perform their best, and that's what the following questions can do for you.  There's no need to write anything -- just reflect on them. 

  • What exactly are you wanting to have be different in your life?How will you know this change has occurred? How will others know?
  • What's a small improvement you might notice first that lets you know you are heading in the right direction?
  • What changes have you already noticed since deciding to seek counseling?
  • If you only had one session, what do you want to make absolutely sure to discuss?
  • What new skill or growth do you need to develop in order to meet and sustain your goal?
  • What sources of assistance, positive influences or other resources are available to help you?
  • How does the struggle you have been having make sense to you?
  • If there's a very meaningful lesson about life contained in this problem, what could it be?
  • How might you sabotage yourself up to not reach your goall?
  • When, how, or in what ways is your life good? What are you grateful for?
  • How have you already worked to resolve this problem? What have you figured out so far?

Also, I suggest that you make the following commitments and affirmations that will help you get the most out of your counseling experience.

  • Be as flat-out honest as you can. You might not share all of your deepest secrets in one meeting, but encourage yourself to be as genuine as you can. Be willing to have some conversations you've never had with anyone before. 
  • Be ready and willing to look deeply into yourself.
  • Allow yourself to experience the most important insights of your life. It won't happen often, but prepare some room in your head and heart for the possibility to occur.
  • Accept that even brief therapy or a small improvement can be a life-changing and affirming experience marking a new and exciting part of your growth.
  • It might seem to go without saying but limit any alcohol or drug use before a session so that you can be as clear and responsive as possible during our time together.  
  • Take some time after your session to reflect on how it went for you and give yourself some support and encouragement for your efforts. Engage in whatever actions are likely to help you carry forward any insights and momentum you gain.

If you take these simple steps you are likely to get the most benefit from the time, energy and money you are investing in the goal of a better life.  If you want to speed up the process of taking your therapeutic experience to a deeper level, look over this list of questions about "your journey from birth to adulthood".


If I can provide more personal assistance to you, either in person, by phone or via Skype, please don't hesitate to contact me.