For people in therapy: what could your therapist do to improve your sessions?

These types of questions are so specific to the individual and/or what they’re being seen for, but for me...

-Avoid the damn cliches and repeating questions they got out of some book. At least use them sparingly. Sometimes they’re impactful and useful, but when they don’t just relax and be them, we know. In turn everything seems fake, even the empathy.

-Watch what’s happening in silence. I could ramble about this one forever, even while understanding the effectiveness of silence. Once had a therapist refuse to break the silence, ever. And hell if there wasn’t even times I was literally begging for them to do so. Luckily my current T was smart enough to pay attention. They could catch when I was dissociating and/or had moved into side conversations in my own head.

-Be on time and consistent in scheduling. There is this air of “we will get to you when we get to you”. Even my (pretty damn good) therapist projects this. It’s like a complete lack of awareness of what some of us go through just to get to therapy. Not to mention other life responsibilities, my anxiety is through the roof on therapy days, sometimes I’m shaking on the way there. Every single second that tics by as I wait the anxiety escalates. Sometimes 5 minutes late makes me mute by the time I get in session. I’ve already amped up everything, including internal narrative about my T sucking and/or how unimportant I must be. It may not be fair, and I own my shit on this one, but the trauma running through me tells me I can’t count on anyone and a late T proves this repeatedly.

-Apologize. When you mess up, apologize.

-Explain what to expect in sessions, and continue to do so periodically. Either broadly or for a specific session.

-Give insight about where you see us in the process and what the process may look like moving forward.

-Ask for feedback. Not just “how do you think this is working” in an overall sense, but about the little things too.

-Buck the expectation that clients are always suppose to take the lead. There are moments, spans of time, this is actually impossible. I’m paying for someone to help me walk through a process. That someone is supposed to be an expert in doing so. There is a balance between opening a session with “how are you” then expecting the client to then push the entire session and the T steamrolling over anything the client moves towards. Find the balance.

/r/mentalhealth Thread