After you’ve made the decision to start therapy, it is important to prepare. While therapy is extremely helpful for recovering from any mental illness, it can be difficult to handle the adjustment. Here are just a few ways that you can prepare before you enter into therapy.

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Set Goals

If you go into your first appointment with a clear idea of what you want to achieve from each session, your therapy will go much smoother because you have a goal. Setting goals helps both you and your therapist because it allows you to spend less time trying to decide what your end point is and gives you more time to actually get there.

Goals are also important because your therapist can help you stay realistic while still challenging yourself.

Know What You Want

This goes along with the idea of goals. Before you go in, do some research. Try to determine what problems you want to solve and what issues you want to deal with before you walk through the door to your first appointment.

If you know that you have anxiety problems and you want to be able to go into crowded areas with less stress, your therapist can devote your appointment time to helping you face that specific issue.

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Decide Your Time Frame

Recovery does not happen right away. It takes time and hard work. Because of this, know your time frame early on. Be aware that you won’t see changes in a day and be prepared to deal with small steps instead of giant leaps. You will see a difference; it just won’t happen as suddenly as you hope.

If you want to focus on smaller, specific issues before jumping into the root of the problem, tell your therapist. For instance, if you’re scared of airplanes, but you have a business trip halfway across the country coming up in a month, tell your therapist and they can focus on tools to get you on the plane. Then, you can come back and focus on the source of your fear and you can solve the problem from the root.

Be Open

If you have a problem with labels, tell your therapist. Tell them the things that give you anxiety, so you can keep your sessions as relaxed as possible. The more prepared and comfortable you are, the more you’ll learn and the easier it will be for you to think about bad memories and experiences. Therapy has a tendency to go into painful territory in order to deal with problems. While this is fundamentally helpful in the end, the process can be difficult to go through if you aren’t prepared.

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Be honest with your therapist and be aware that things might be hard to talk through. If you keep an open flow of communication going with your therapist, your road to recovery will go a lot smoother. In this case, honesty really is the best policy.

Don’t Expect A Miracle

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While recovery is absolutely 100% possible, as we mentioned before, it isn’t going to happen overnight. Don’t go into therapy expecting to see change right away. If you have high expectations going in, you will feel disappointment when you don’t reach those. Therapy is different for everyone. Some people take to it easily while others struggle with getting their feelings out. You really don’t know which type of person you will be until you’re sitting across from your therapist.

Be prepared to put in the effort for your recovery and be ready for some difficult conversations. Therapy is a great tool if you use it correctly.