Elizabeth Nyblade, Ph.D.
Gateway Centre
1313 E. Maple Street
Bellingham, WA 98225
P: 360.647.8295
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  Question :
  How can I get the most out of counseling?
 Answer :

Counseling is a process of learning, so the same methods that would help you get the most out of a class will help you get the most out of counseling.

  1. Work at remembering what goes on during the therapy session.

    Bring a notepad and take notes on what the counselor says. Some counselors will print specific notes out from their computer, or they will have a handout with the information to give you.

    Most counselors will allow you to record the therapy session. Ask first and then bring in a recording device so you don’t need to stop a session to take notes. Just remember not to leave incriminating tapes around your house.

    After the therapy session, write down the things you learned that you think were most important for you. Reread your notes, or play the tape during the week between sessions to remind you of things you’d like to think about. 
  2. Do homework or exercises between sessions to help you learn more.

    If you’re working on being more outgoing, decide on a small step you can take in that direction between therapy sessions. For example, decide that you’re going to introduce yourself to one stranger every day this week at work. Take notes on what your goal was, how you worked on it, and what barriers you couldn’t overcome that week and want to talk about.

    Ask your therapist to help you plan homework or exercises between sessions. The therapist doesn’t think like you, so she will probably come up with something you didn’t think of yourself. Make sure the homework or exercise isn’t too big a step for you to take all at once.

    Maybe there’s a book you can read about the issue or a biography of a person who overcame this handicap. Maybe there’s a self-help book or a book of programmed instruction that you can use between sessions to increase your learning. Ask the therapist what books she recommends for you. Check the library or look up second-hand books online to keep the cost affordable.
  3. Keep a journal or diary of your experiences.

    A personal journal is a major help to you when you’re trying to increase your learning. Pick a time that is good for you, relax over a cup of tea or a glass of wine and just write about yourself and the thoughts and feelings running through your head. What happened in your day and how did you feel about it? What did that event remind you of in your past or how did it worry you about your future?
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Gateway Centre • 1313 E. Maple Street • Bellingham, WA 98225

Telephone: 360-647-8295

Fax: 360.647.8296

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