What not to do – some common considerations when beginning psychotherapy

Do not skip appointments.

In order to work, psychotherapy requires a commitment by both you and your therapist to devote the time and energy needed to uncover the underlying issues that are contributing to your symptoms, and to developing effective coping strategies.  It can take time for you to see the benefits of therapy. Be patient with the process.

Do not discontinue therapy on your own.

After you begin to feel that your symptoms have improved, you may think therapy is no longer needed.  But depression is a chronic illness that requires ongoing treatment. Stopping therapy too soon increases your risk of having a relapse of symptoms. Also, it is inevitable that new stressors will present themselves over time. Continuing with therapy can help you develop the strength and skills to face new situations and challenges.

Do not limit the “work” of therapy to your sessions

Not every breakthrough in therapy occurs during a formal session.  Much of the learning and growth happens in between sessions, as you reflect on your feelings and experiences during the day, and practice new skills.  Bring that learning to your next session.  Make it a priority to complete the “homework” assignments you are given during sessions. Take advantage of tools like journaling to track your progress, too, and refer to your journal during your appointments.