Therapy session tips to help conquer grief and depression

Jenine Butroid advises how you can get the most out of a therapy session.
therapy session
It is important to be open and honest about what you want to achieve from a therapy session.

Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. So, attending therapy is vital in helping people to deal with grief and depression, as well as allowing them to address feelings of guilt, sadness or anger. Here, we look at how you can get the most out of a therapy session.

Choosing the right therapist for you

Before signing yourself up for a therapy session, it is important to find a therapist that will suit your needs. To find the perfect therapist for you, ask yourself what you want to get out of therapy. Take time to consider what sort of environment you feel comfortable in and what accessibility you may have to a potential therapist. Make a shortlist of potential candidates who look like they meet your requirements, and set up phone consultations with each of them.

These calls will help you to investigate a few things like availability, cost and how many therapy sessions to expect, but they should also help you determine if you feel comfortable. After each ‘interview’, ask yourself, do you feel you can talk to this person? Can you be honest with them? Do they accept you? Are they good at listening? Will their approach suit you? If the answer is yes, you’ve found your perfect match.

Getting the most out of your therapy sessions

Once you have chosen the right therapist for you, it is time to ensure you make the most of your therapy sessions. Here are my five top tips for optimising your time with your therapist.

1. Commit to attending each session

When done correctly, therapy delivers consistent and regular support by helping people to navigate their issues. However, to make the most of therapy, you must attend each session. By doing this, you will gain a sense of continuity and develop a trusting relationship with your therapist. It is important to form this connection with a therapist so you can work at a deeper level, which is more conducive to long-lasting change.

I would recommend asking for therapy sessions, but if you feel like you need them more or less regularly, then it is worth sharing this with your therapist to see whether they can accommodate this and explore how it may impact the therapy. It is also beneficial to pay for your sessions yourself. People who pay for their session rather than being ‘sent’ by someone else have a sense of responsibility which is essential to help you feel empowered. At the end of the day, only you can change yourself.

2. Try to provide honest feedback to your therapist

This is a two-way street and relies on you giving feedback for therapy sessions to succeed. So, after sessions, be honest and ask yourself, are the sessions flowing well? Are they progressing? Is your therapist missing something? Did you find something they said particularly helpful? Any feedback you give your therapist can benefit the therapeutic process and make your session better in the long run.

Remember, we are all human; no matter how good your therapist is, sometimes they will get things wrong. You can provide extra space for the relationship to grow and deepen by feeding back what is and is not working for you. Some people find this difficult, but your counsellor is there to respond to your needs and will be open to engaging with what you say.

3. Strive to be open and honest with yourself

Expressing your feelings and thoughts in sessions is very important. Try to notice the parts that make up your inner self, including those you tend to dismiss or ignore. Even if you are not comfortable with them, they contribute in some way to your experience of the world. By allowing your different ‘sides’ a voice, you can get a sense of the bigger picture of your inner world. Letting yourself be vulnerable is vital to striking a balance between feeling safe and pushing yourself beyond your usual comfort zone. However, don’t feel pressured to express things you’re not ready to explore.

4. Focus on how you experience your difficulties

Sure, venting about your issues can be helpful at times. But, when venting becomes the focus of therapy, it is difficult to get a sense of any power you have to make changes. In other words, talking about other people or experiences will not make them change, but focusing on yourself can allow you to find new ways to respond to the situation. A therapist will prompt and encourage you to focus on yourself if the therapy seems stuck on negative things and people, but in the end, it is up to you to choose the direction to go in, so bear this in mind when trying to get the most out of your session.

5. Write everything down and reflect

Writing everything down after a session is a great idea to make sure you make the most of the session. A notebook allows you to freely express your thoughts and feelings in words or other mediums. This will enable you to identify how you truly feel and can even help you discover things you would like to take into your next session. By writing down and reflecting on each session, you will realise thoughts and emotions that you may not have previously experienced.

By following these tips, you will be equipped to get the most out of a therapy session. If you would like to find out more, visit

If you found How to get the most out of a therapy session helpful, you’ll find more tips for coping with anxiety and stress on our Dating and Relationships channel.

Tags: Last modified: September 15, 2022

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