1. Make a list of your goals for therapy
Writing out your goals can help you define what you want to accomplish in therapy and make sure that your therapy stays on track. You can modify your goals as time goes on, and you can easily monitor your progress. When sitting down to write your goals, ask yourself, “At the end of therapy, how do I want to think differently, feel differently, and behave differently?” Try to visualize your goals and be as detailed as possible. For example, if one of your goals is to be less anxious, ask yourself, “How will I know if I am less anxious? What will be different if I am less anxious?”
2. Bring a notebook to sessions
Many clients find it helpful to bring a notebook to each therapy session. You can write your therapy goals, as well as the highlights from your session that you would like to think more about. At the end of therapy, your notebook can serve as your own personal self help book that you can refer to in the future at any time.
3. Give some thought to the session agenda
You should feel confident that your session time is being utilized in a way that will maximize your gains. Before you come to your session, think about what you would like to put on the agenda. Is there a specific problem you would like to discuss? Is there an issue you would like to talk about in greater detail? Did you work on something in relation to your treatment goals that you would like feedback on? Because the nature of Cognitive Therapy is collaborative, your therapist will suggest items for the agenda as well and together you will decide what to focus on in the session.
4. Ask your therapist for readings to supplement your therapy
Books and workbooks can often serve as a useful adjunct to your therapy. There are some suggested readings on our website and you can always ask your therapist for book recommendations as well.
5. Give your therapist feedback
We at the HVCCT are committed to working with you to the best of our ability. We appreciate and welcome feedback about your therapy experience, particularly while you are in treatment. Be sure to let your therapist know what is and isn’t working for you. If you have any concerns at any point with the course of treatment, please do not hesitate to speak candidly to your therapist. It is very important to us that you are comfortable working with your therapist and that you feel that your treatment is going in the direction you wish.