Therapy is an incredibly valuable tool for helping you heal and grow. However, it’s important to keep practicing what you and your therapist have talked about between sessions. If you only work on yourself once a week for an hour you can still make progress, but it will be much slower.
The best way to make steady change is to bring habits into your week that will help you continue your healing journey even when you’re not sitting in your therapist’s office.
Our St. Louis Therapist Shares Six Things to Do Between Sessions to Get Even More Out of Therapy:
1. Ask Your Therapist For Homework
If you want to work on therapy skills between appointments and you need guidance or structure, ask your therapist for homework. It doesn't have to be a formalized task; it can be anything that helps you practice the skills you're learning in therapy.
For example, if you're working on giving assertive feedback at work, the two of you may decide that once over the next week you will give feedback to one of your employees and then reflect on how it went. The idea isn't to get graded on how well your task was done or whether you did it without feeling any anxiety. Instead, it’s about practicing the skill so it becomes more natural.
Homework can also be something basic like filling out a worksheet, reading a section from a book, or writing in a journal. These aren’t better or worse; they’re just different ways of helping you reflect on where you are and what you want to work on.
2. Write in a Journal
Write about thoughts that came up in therapy during the previous week, or things you've discovered about yourself. This is a great way to get the most out of your sessions, even if there are several weeks between appointments. Write whatever makes sense; it might be something about what you and your therapist talked about or something you want to talk about next time.
Other great ways to use a journal are to make connections between things that happen in your life and things you’ve learned in therapy. Perhaps you’ve been in therapy because you and your spouse keep fighting. You could write about what happened during a day when you didn’t fight, or a day you fought all the time, so you could see the patterns. Maybe you used a skill you learned during session by accident, and it had a positive effect.
These notes are helpful because they give you a chance to process things on your own. Then you can either keep those thoughts to yourself as you continue your journey, or you can address them the next time you talk to your therapist. And you will have a record to reference later.
3. Try Connecting With Other People Who Are Facing Similar Challenges
One way to make the most of your therapy journey is by reaching out to people who are dealing with similar challenges. If you're struggling with depression, consider reaching out to others who are coping with depression. This could be done through an online support group or even by attending workshops at a community center.
Everyone’s journey is different so it’s easy to get lonely during the healing process. But there's no need to keep feeling completely alone.
Many people’s journeys have overlapping points where they can find community and support. So seeking out those communities can be helpful and validating.
4. Pick One Change and Stick To It
If you feel like you cover a lot of ground in therapy but never know how to deal with it during the week, just pick one of the changes you want to make and try it out between sessions. Don’t try to put everything in at once; you’ll be juggling too many balls and will inevitably drop one. Focus on one thing—it doesn’t even have to be the hardest thing - and really put your energy behind it.
Find a way to make that change a habit. Make it part of your routine until it becomes second nature. Then try another the next week, and another the next. And you don’t even have to pick a new change every week; you can keep working until you’ve mastered one thing. Or you can pick a different focus every month. There’s no right way; whatever works best for you is what you should do.
5. Be Intentional About Self-Care
There are lots of self-care processes you can use between therapy sessions. Some of these might help you with the things you’re working on; if your thoughts are constantly spinning you may benefit from spending time meditating every day. And you might need some self-care to cope with the work you’re doing in therapy.
For example, if you and your therapist are working on your trauma, and you’re also journaling, you might need ways to regulate. So your weekly task might be to take a walk in the sunshine to relieve stress and calm your nervous system.
6. Process With Someone
This is similar to journaling, but of course a little different. If you don’t get much out of writing, and you have someone you trust, you can also talk to someone between sessions. You really shouldn’t use this to get extra advice or to have them as a second ‘free’ therapist. Instead, this might be a good way to talk through what you’re learning. Some people think better when it happens in conversation rather than on paper.
You can also use them for accountability, if you want that. They can help you make sure you’re taking a walk, or text you to remind you to journal. They might even come to a yoga class with you. Either way they are there to help you make changes you want to make. It’s critical that this person is good at boundaries and that you trust them completely. Don’t open yourself up to someone if you’re not sure whether they’ll be supportive or not.
The key to getting the most out of therapy is to keep it going. It's not just showing up for your sessions, but also making sure that you stay engaged with your therapy when you’re not in an appointment. Just like you can’t exercise once a week and get strong quickly, you can’t do one hour of therapy a week and expect to heal immediately.
The more effort you put into therapy, the more likely you are to change and heal at a consistent rate.
If you aren’t sure what to do with yourself between sessions, ask your therapist for suggestions. And remember it’s about working smarter, not harder. You don’t have to spend five hours a day on therapy work; you just have to make sure whatever you do makes a difference.
Your therapist can help you figure out what will be most helpful for you between sessions. The therapists at Marble Wellness have experience coaching clients on what to do between appointments so you can make the progress you desire.
If you're ready to start working on yourself in and out of session, contact Marble Wellness today. We will pair you with a therapist who matches your needs and is ready to walk with you on your journey.
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