Setting + Attaining Your Therapeutic Goals
The pressure feels relieved. You’ve finally scheduled and attended your first therapy session. Feels like a weight has been lifted when you finally released some of the thoughts, worries and emotions that have been lingering for months; even years. You were even able to make some initial connections between past and present circumstances or behaviors.
Now what do you do with that initial information and awareness you have?
Well, here’s where the work actually begins. Therapy is the place to set and work towards realistic, personal development goals for new behaviors and thought processes that you want to begin carrying out. Those goals are grounded in what you’re able to acknowledge and recognize. So yes, that first session can feel great. But, how do you get to the meaningful change? Consistency.
Therapy is a place for accountability and reflections on day-to-day scenarios that plague your ability to actually live out those more productive and healthy behavior patterns. Your weekly or bi-weekly sessions are now in place to assist you in seeing through that critical work of personal-development, that otherwise goes unattended to.
Here’s what to consider to ensure you are successfully setting and attaining your therapeutic goals.
When you set your therapeutic goals, start with the big picture. What is it that you’d like to see different in your life; despite the barriers you perceive? From there, collaborate with your therapist about what initial steps are necessary for getting there. Then, use your sessions to identify, process and even break down your barriers to personal success.
Attend your therapy sessions with consistency and the readiness to work and learn. Your level of engagement with session notes and even notes from your week(s)’ successes and trials to unpack. Remember, most therapeutic work takes place over 6-12 sessions. Feel free to check in during your treatment process discuss the need for more or less sessions.
What to do when you feel you’ve successfully attained your therapeutic goals?
Hooray! You’ve made it to your 6, 8, 12, etc. session marker! You and your therapist believe you’re ready to transition your therapy pace or attendance. You have options here. Feel free to discuss a personal development maintenance plan; possibly monthly sessions or just as-needed. Or, maybe it’s time to move on in general with the growth you’ve made. Keep in mind, transition is a great thing. It means your hard work and efforts are paying off in your daily life. Therapists love a great transition success story.
Don’t be ashamed to come back or increase session frequency as new, unexpected or more challenging life circumstances present themselves. Sometimes you just need a boost of support and reassurance. Your therapist is here for that as well.
Overall, your goals are personal and your success in grounded in your efforts. As you enter a new year, try a self-check to see where you are with your therapeutic or personal goals. Are you on track with what you’d like to see different? If not, there’s time to put in the work for what you’d like to see differently in your life.