By now, millions of people around the world have discovered just how valuable online therapy sessions can be. But even the best therapists aren’t able to maximize the value you personally receive from each session; part of the burden is on you as an active participant.
Finding the Right Online Therapist
You can find an online therapist in Dublin with a simple search. And since online therapy can be conducted remotely, you can even broaden that search and look for prospective therapists in other areas as well.
One of the most important keys for getting more value out of online therapy is finding the right therapist. While all professionally credentialed therapists have the knowledge and authority to treat you, some may be better fits than others.
Look for the following:
- Credentials. Look for the proper credentials so you can be confident in getting help from a licensed professional.
- Area of specialty. Also, look at the area of specialty. Some psychological professionals choose to focus on a particular family of disorders, a particular style of therapy, or even treating certain types of patients. If you’re facing a specific issue, it may benefit you to work with a specialist. If you’re not sure, start by working with a generalist.
- Experience. You’ll also want to examine the experience levels of each prospective candidate. How long have they been doing this?
- Personality/fit. You won’t be able to get a good feel for personality or fit until your first few sessions, but it’s still an important factor to consider. You don’t need to be friends with your therapist, nor should you be, but you should generally get along with them and appreciate their therapy approach.
Keys to Getting More Out of Your Online Therapy Sessions
These are additional keys to getting more out of your therapy sessions.
- Be ready to attend regular sessions. It’s almost impossible to see results after a single therapy session. And if your sessions are inconsistent or scattered, it may be hard for you to see consistent progress. Accordingly, you should be ready to attend sessions regularly, even if you’re not going weekly.
- Keep an open mind. Most of us are somewhat close-minded by default, even if we’re not willing to admit it so bluntly. We tend to be reluctant to change our minds, especially as we get older. Our habits and behaviors become more ingrained, and we become more confident in our perspectives on the world. But if you want to get more value out of therapy, you need to keep an open mind. Be willing to acknowledge, and possibly accept bold new ideas.
- Anticipate and allow change. Similarly, remember that people go to therapy specifically to elicit change in their lives. Unless you’re willing to anticipate and allow for changes to happen, you’re not going to see much value out of your session. Change is scary. But it doesn’t have to be. And the more you fight against it, the more you’ll end up sabotaging yourself.
- Remain honest and vulnerable. When talking to your therapist, remain honest and vulnerable. This is a safe space and you are protected by confidentiality clauses, so don’t hesitate to tell your therapist everything that you think and feel. Holding back or lying will compromise your results, as your therapist will not have accurate information to work with.
- Practice naming and explaining your emotions. When you’re not in a therapy session, practice naming and explaining your emotions, especially if this isn’t something you do regularly. Whenever you have a strong emotion or a change in your thought patterns, think to yourself: What am I feeling? Why am I feeling it? What led to this? It’s a way of heightening your emotional awareness and your ability to communicate emotions, both of which are going to help you in your therapy sessions.
- Maintain a journal outside of your sessions. Journaling is associated with many mental health benefits, but it’s even more effective as a sister tool to be used with therapy. Keep track of what you’re thinking and feeling each day; it can bring your attention to things you’ll want to bring up in a future therapy session, and simultaneously help you better process your stress and emotions.
- Do your homework. Your therapist will likely recommend behavioral changes to make, strategies to try, books to read, and other types of “homework.” This work is for your benefit, so make sure you actually do it to whatever extent you can.
- Give feedback. Finally, remember that therapy is a two-way street. Your therapist is the authority in this context, but they also rely on your participation and your feedback to make your sessions truly effective. If there’s something your therapist can do to make your sessions more comfortable or more effective, voice your thoughts and recommendations; your therapist will probably be glad to hear them.
If you find a good therapist and you’re able to follow all of these strategies consistently, you should get better value from your sessions. Note that this doesn’t mean you’re going to see results right away: therapy is still a process that requires consistency and patience. But all other factors being equal, the patients who make a deliberate and conscientious effort are going to see better long-term results.