Psychotherapy may not cure your condition or make an unpleasant situation go away. But it can give you the power to cope in a healthy way and to feel better about yourself and your life.

Getting the most out of psychotherapy

Take steps to get the most out of your therapy and help make it a success.

  • Make sure you feel comfortable with your therapist. If you don't, look for another therapist with whom you feel more at ease.
  • Approach therapy as a partnership. Therapy is most effective when you're an active participant and share in decision-making. Make sure you and your therapist agree about the major issues and how to tackle them. Together, you can set goals and measure progress over time.
  • Be open and honest. Success depends on willingness to share your thoughts, feelings and experiences, and to consider new insights, ideas and ways of doing things. If you're reluctant to talk about certain issues because of painful emotions, embarrassment or fears about your therapist's reaction, let your therapist know.
  • Stick to your treatment plan. If you feel down or lack motivation, it may be tempting to skip psychotherapy sessions. Doing so can disrupt your progress. Try to attend all sessions and to give some thought to what you want to discuss.
  • Don't expect instant results. Working on emotional issues can be painful and may require hard work. You may need several sessions before you begin to see improvement.
  • Do your homework between sessions. If your therapist asks you to document your thoughts in a journal or do other activities outside of your therapy sessions, follow through. These homework assignments can help you apply what you've learned in the therapy sessions to your life.
  • If psychotherapy isn't helping, talk to your therapist. If you don't feel that you're benefiting from therapy after several sessions, talk to your therapist about it. You and your therapist may decide to make some changes or try a different approach that may be more effective.