Althought Therapy

Insightful Topics for Productive
Therapy Sessions

Have you started thinking about going to individual therapy to support your mental health? But maybe some fears start coming up such as, what am I going to discuss in therapy sessions?

Starting therapy can feel scary and sometimes overwhelming. Feeling anxious is normal. Sometimes when we feel anxious we want to avoid whatever is making us feel that way.

I will give you some ideas on what you can discuss with your therapist. I will also give you some ideas about what you can expect in therapy. Last, we will discuss some benefits of therapy. 

Productive Therapy Sessions

What Can I Expect During My First Therapy Session?

Most therapists will have you go through an intake process. This means that they will want to gather information about you and your background. This includes information about your family, childhood, your job, hobbies, and any substance use. Your therapist will also want to know what brings you to therapy- what therapists call your “presenting issue.” 

You can have one or many things you want to discuss in therapy or work on in therapy. Therapy is all about supporting you and what you want and need. Your therapist may ask you what your therapy goals are. 

Setting goals in therapy benefits both you and your therapist by guiding meaningful changes. Some therapists have a plan to focus on your issues and help you reach your goals during each session. Others prefer a more flexible method, allowing you to choose the topics to address in each session.

Both methods are effective therapy techniques. A matter of preference determines whether you will like a more structured or unstructured approach.

Therapy Topic Ideas

You can discuss anything with your therapist. This is a safe place for you to deeply connect with yourself and receive guidance from your therapist. Below is a list of ideas for you to bring up in therapy. Some topics may be more relevant than others for your specific goals.

Your Relationships

One of the most common reasons for starting therapy is to understand your relationships better. Connecting with other people, such as our friends and family, is a basic human need. When we feel like our connections are strained or we feel misunderstood this can create stress in our life. Having a better understanding of yourself and how you relate to others is a great goal for therapy.

Your Emotions and Thoughts

Another great thing to talk to your therapist about is your emotions and feelings. Maybe you struggle with identifying what emotions you are experiencing and emotions feel murky. Maybe you have feelings you’re not comfortable sharing with others and need a safe place to express them. Therapy is a great place for you to explore your thoughts and feelings.

If you struggle to recognize emotions, you can find more information in a previous blog article. 

Daily Life

You can discuss various aspects of your daily life with a therapist. These may include managing stress, balancing work and life, addressing relationship issues, and setting personal goals.

It can be helpful to discuss these topics with a therapist. They can provide support and guidance in navigating these challenges. Sharing your daily routines, challenges, and successes helps the therapist understand your context and provide relevant guidance.

You can also explore emotions, coping strategies, and any recurring thoughts or patterns that impact your well-being. This dialogue can help you gain insights and develop practical solutions for improving your day-to-day life.

Things That Cause You Stress

Learning how to deal with stress is an important skill. All people deal with stress in their daily life. However, learning different coping skills and how to handle stress can help you alleviate stress more quickly in your life.

While stress is inevitable it doesn’t have to take control over your life. You can use grounding techniques and other stress-coping skills to manage stress in your life.

Coping Skills

You can talk to your therapist about how you can use coping skills to deal with stress, anxiety, and difficult emotions. You can discuss the specific situations or triggers that make it difficult for you to cope.

Be open and honest about your feelings and experiences. Together, you and your therapist can work on developing strategies to help you better manage these challenges. Share specific situations that trigger these feelings and how you currently respond to them.

Discuss any coping strategies you’ve tried, what has worked, and what hasn’t. Explore new techniques that might be effective, such as mindfulness, cognitive-behavioral strategies, or relaxation exercises. Your therapist can create coping skills just for you, giving you tools to handle life’s challenges more effectively.

Traumatic Events

When discussing traumatic events with your therapist, begin by sharing the specific incident or incidents that have impacted you. Discuss how these experiences have affected your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Describe any flashbacks, nightmares, or other symptoms you might be experiencing. Discuss how the trauma influences your daily life and relationships.

Your therapist can help you process these events, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and work towards healing. Make sure to speak up if you have any concerns or needs during these conversations to feel safe and supported.

Childhood Issues

Talking to your therapist about childhood issues can help you connect your current life to your early life experiences. Start by sharing specific memories or experiences you had early in life. Discuss memories that still bother you today. Discuss how these events shaped your beliefs, behaviors, and emotional responses.

You can address any problems you currently see in your life that you believe are connected to your childhood. Be open about feelings of anger, sadness, or confusion that arise when reflecting on these times.

Your therapist can help you understand how your past impacts you. They can also help you process unresolved emotions. Additionally, they can assist you in learning healthier ways to interact with yourself and others.

Life Transitions

When discussing life transitions with your therapist, talk about the specific changes you are experiencing, such as moving to a new city, starting a new job, or going through a significant relationship change. Share your feelings about these transitions, including any excitement, anxiety, or uncertainty you might have. Discuss how these changes are impacting your daily routine, relationships, and overall well-being.

Important to remember that life transitions can be both exciting and challenging. Your therapist can help you navigate through these changes by providing support, guidance, and coping strategies. They can help you explore your fears and concerns, as well as identify opportunities for growth and self-discovery. Talking about your feelings openly and honestly can help you understand yourself and your needs better during times of change.

It’s normal to feel a range of emotions during times of change. Talking to a therapist can help you get through them with strength and resilience. Your therapist can support you with making changes, managing stress, and seizing new opportunities.

Mental Health Condition

Different types of therapy can support mental illnesses. Therapy can be a valuable tool in managing mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, and more. Therapists are trained to help individuals understand their thoughts and emotions, develop coping mechanisms, and work towards healing and recovery. By seeking therapy, individuals can learn to better manage their symptoms, improve their overall well-being, and build resilience in the face of challenges.

Therapy provides a secure environment for discussing emotions. It helps address past problems. It also teaches effective stress management techniques. It is important to remember that seeking help is a sign of strength, and therapy can be a powerful tool in improving mental health and overall quality of life.

About Dr. Awalt

Dr. Awalt is a therapist in Lakewood, CO who offers individual therapy and couples therapy. Dr. Awalt owns Althought Therapy and provides therapy services to clients in Colorado, both in-person and online therapy. If you are not in Colorado, local mental health professionals can help with these issues.