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Preparing for your first typed therapy session

January 9, 2023
By
ieso

Choosing to start a course of treatment is a very positive step forward. You’ve noticed some signs or symptoms of a mental health condition and have decided to take control of it. You’ve taken the first steps towards feeling better by signing up for online typed therapy – but how can you make sure you get the most out of your sessions?

We understand that typed therapy can make you feel a whole range of emotions. It can feel empowering and liberating, but also leave you feeling a little apprehensive and sometimes even more anxious than before you started.

You may be wondering what’s going to happen? What’s expected of me? Will I get on with my therapist? To help you feel ready for your first session, we’ve put together a few tips that might help you prepare for online therapy.

Think about your goals

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a very actionable type of talking therapy. It focuses on dealing with the here and now, equipping you with skills to manage situations and helping you get back to living life the way you want to. Your therapist will want to know how you’ve been feeling and what it is you’d like to get back to doing, or feel able to start doing. Understanding this will help you set some goals that you can work towards during your typed sessions.

It’s a good idea to think about what goals you might like to work towards, before logging in for your first session. Have a go at setting them and make a list of anything else you might like to work on during your therapy.

Try to keep all the information relating to your therapy sessions together in one easy-to-find place, whether in a file on your computer or a small notebook. This will make it easier for you to refer back to them during therapy, and writing some ideas before the session can reduce the chance of feeling overwhelmed when it starts.

Categorise your symptoms

Through typed therapy, you’ll learn about your difficulties and how to manage them – learning which skills will help you become your own therapist. CBT is focused on how our thoughts, feelings and behaviours are linked and impact each other. To get you into a good mindset for this during your sessions, have a think about the way your symptoms and feelings fall into these three different categories:

  • Think about the way they make your body feel physically. Do you find you sweat more? Or perhaps feel dizzy and shaky?
  • Think about how the way you feel makes you act. Do you avoid certain situations? Carry out specific routines?
  • Think about how they make you think. Try to take note of some of the thoughts you experience when you are in a situation that triggers your symptoms.

Don’t worry if you find this difficult to start with. There are no right or wrong answers in online therapy. No one is expecting you to be an expert and that is what we are here to help you with. However, just thinking about your symptoms in this way can get you into a good frame of mind for your sessions.

This can also help you understand your triggers and drive the conversation. Track when you experience the response that’s causing you difficulties. Add it to the list above to categorise the symptoms that appear, and note down when it happens, where you are, and who you’re with. What else was going on? Are you reacting according to a previous experience? What can you smell? See? Hear?

Make a note of things you enjoy

Have a think about your life over the last few weeks or months. What are some of the things that you have done that you have enjoyed? Try to write these things down. On the opposite side, make a list of all the things that you have done that you perhaps haven’t enjoyed. This can be a good exercise to get you thinking about how you have been spending your time and whether more of your time is taken up on things that you don’t enjoy instead of things that you do.

During your therapy sessions, your therapist will be keen to get to know you personally, so they can work out the best solutions to get you back to doing what you want to be doing and enjoying your life again.

Typed therapy with ieso focuses on practical ways to help you feel better. We encourage you to find some time and space to reflect on your difficulties by completing preliminary questionnaires and taking part in activities between sessions. Find out more about how typed therapy with ieso works here.

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