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How to Prepare for Therapy Counseling

4 Easy Steps for Reaching Your Mental Health Goals

Getting ready to start therapy counseling for you or your child? Here are some ways you can prepare for therapy counseling and mental therapy before your first session.

1. Determine your therapy counseling goals.

Before your first mental therapy session, think of what you want to get out of the process. This may seem difficult if you are feeling overwhelmed with the difficulties you or your family may be facing. However, pinpointing some of your desires and goals for mental therapy can help you and your counselor better understand how to conduct and plan your sessions.

Your goals may vary depending on the type of mental therapy you and your family receives. For example, if you or your child is receiving anger management counseling, your goal may be to have fewer temper tantrums or to understand the source of this anger.

2. Use journaling to prepare for mental therapy beforehand.

Before your session, think about what questions you have for the therapist. Consider any problems or difficulties you have had, what you have tried in the past, and any fears or concerns that bother you. Write these in a journal, whether that is a paper journal or a note on your phone. Bring this journal with you so you remember to bring up these questions or issues in your session.

It is also a good idea to use your journal to take notes during your therapy counseling session. You may want to write down any questions the counselor asks that you may not have an immediate answer for so you can think about them later.

3. Create a buffer of time before and after your therapy session.

You will want to give yourself plenty of time to get to your session, especially if you feel nervous about it. Taking some time beforehand can help you relax and gather your thoughts.

After your session, it is normal to feel emotionally drained or agitated. You may need some time to think and relax before going on with the rest of your day or evening. By giving yourself a buffer of time, you can reflect on your therapy counseling session.

4. Manage your expectations.

Setting goals is important, but so is setting expectations. It’s normal to feel like you did not make any progress during the first few sessions. In your first session, your therapist will need to gather a lot of information about you and your family to understand the challenges you face and how to approach them.

It is also important to remember that your therapist will offer advice and guidance, but they will do so in partnership with you and your family. Therapy will give good results only if you and your family are committed to doing your “homework” and practicing what you discuss in therapy counseling.

Advanced Behavioral Health, Inc. aims to provide programs that help address complex mental health needs for at-risk children, adolescents, and adults in Maryland. Our treatment approaches involve the whole family and include psychiatry, off-site counseling (including at a child’s home or school), on-site therapy, and therapeutic mentoring.

Our expert team of psychiatrists, licensed therapists, and nurse practitioners works with your family to establish goals for managing problems and creating an appropriate treatment plan. Counseling and therapy sessions take place in your home and in your child’s school, making it most convenient and consistent for you and your family, and allowing you to better prepare for each session. Take the first step in meeting your mental-health goals for you, your child, or your family. Contact Advanced Behavioral Health today to learn more about our services or schedule an appointment.