How to Maximise the Help You Receive from Your Psychologist

Have you ever walked away from an appointment with your psychologist, and thought:

“Gee, that hour flew, I didn’t cover everything!”?

or

“I need more help, I want more from my psychologist”

We discuss some tips that help you get more from your sessions with your psychologist.

# Tip 1. Simple, yet SO important – arrive on time or early to your appointment. If you are late to your appointment, your psychologist will need to finish on time regardless. Less time with your psychologist means you and your psychologist are rushed and under pressure: Pressure does not make for good therapy!

#Tip 2. If you were given homework, try to complete the task in between sessions. The reason psychologists provide homework is they want to help you improve as quickly as possible. Usually homework is practising strategies or observing aspects of oneself. If you choose not to complete your homework, it means your psychologist will need to use your session time to achieve these things. Obviously sometimes it is difficult to complete homework, so if you do not manage to complete your homework, discuss and address these potential barriers with your psychologist.

#Tip 3. Be honest about your therapy experience with your psychologist. Sometimes certain things your psychologist may be doing (or not doing) may not suit your needs. Open up to your psychologist about your needs and your experience of therapy. A psychologist loves to receive information about how therapy is going for you, as it helps them be the best psychologist for you.

#Tip 4. Try your best to relax your guards (aka ‘brick wall’). It is normal when you meet a stranger for the first time to not trust them immediately and divulge your life story. However, when seeing a psychologist, it is important you try your best to open up. Basically, the more information the psychologist has about you, the more they can help you. If you find yourself holding back, then flag this with your psychologist and give them the opportunity to help you feel more comfortable.

#Tip 5. Stick to regular appointments. The most common pitfall I have observed in therapy is missing appointments, or scheduling appointments in an ad hoc way. Regular appointment times with a psychologist means you and your psychologist can stick to a rough agenda and plan. When there are unexpected breaks to therapy, sessions can end up being more like “catch ups” rather than actually therapy. To ensure regularity, book ahead in your psychologist’s diary for the same day and time and avoid cancelling appointments.

#Tip 6. Take a pause in sessions. Naturally when you see a psychologist you have a lot to say, but make sure to sometimes take a break from talking. This allows your psychologist time to respond, and usually they have a thought or two to share with you about what you have been saying. If you talk throughout the session, some of your psychologists’ hopefully “golden nugget” thoughts will not be shared.

#Tip 7. Make sure you are seeing the best psychologist for you. Finding a suitable psychologist for you is important: Therapy works best when you share a good relationship. It may be helpful to read How to Find the Best Psychologist for You in Melbourne if you are unsure about whether your psychologist is right for you.

If the above does not work for you and you still find yourself wishing for more help from your psychologist, it is best to think about changing psychologists – It may be helpful to read How to Find a Good Psychologist in Melbourne. At Peaceful Mind Psychology we also offer follow-up telephone debriefing if you wish to confidentially discuss your therapy experience and/or be re-matched with another psychologist in our practice or externally.