A list of topics to talk about with your therapist
Therapy is a conversation, and conversations are all about the topics being discussed. In this section of our guide, we’ll talk about a few different topics you might want to discuss with your therapist. Whether it’s how they feel about their own mental health or what they think drives them to help others, these questions will help you get to know each other better and build trust in your relationship. We’ll also talk about some not-so-easy questions like how they feel about medication use in therapy. Because we all know that’s something everyone wants an opinion on these days! A list of topics to talk about with your therapist
How do you feel about therapy and mental health?
Therapy is a way to help yourself. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
In therapy, you can talk about what you are going through in a safe space with someone who has been trained in listening and understanding. This person will help guide you through your problems and find solutions for them if possible! They also give feedback on how other people might think about what happened (and as an added bonus, they might even be able to help us think differently!).
How do you feel about yourself?
If you’re looking for a topic to talk about with your therapist, why not start with the most important one: yourself?
- Self-esteem. How do you feel about yourself? Are you proud of who you are and what you’ve accomplished, or do negative thoughts get in the way of feeling good about yourself?
- Self-confidence. Do other people’s opinions matter more than yours when it comes to making decisions or taking action in life–or do they matter just as much as yours does (if at all)?
- Self-loathing/self-doubt/self-awareness/self-acceptance. Do these words describe how often and intensely this happens for me right now in my life: never; sometimes; frequently; constantly…
What is your definition of “good mental health”?
A good place to start is with your definition of mental health. Is it a binary state, where you are either mentally healthy or not? Or does it fall somewhere on a spectrum?
If you’re like most people, your definition probably involves some combination of the following:
- The absence of symptoms (e.g., depression)
- Medication that helps manage those symptoms and/or other conditions (e.g., bipolar disorder)
- Therapy sessions that help you cope with daily life (e.g., anxiety disorders)
What are your expectations of therapy and therapists?
- What are your expectations of therapy and therapists?
- How long do you want to be in therapy?
- What are the goals of your treatment, and how will you know when they have been met?
What are your biggest challenges right now?
You know the feeling. You spend your whole life waiting for it, then you get there and it’s not what you thought it would be. It’s not even close to what you thought it would be. The air is different; the food tastes different; even your language feels strange.
There are so many things that can go wrong when moving to a new place: relationships with family members can fall apart, friends will move away or die on you without warning (or both), work opportunities may dry up after several years of consistent job searches with no results…the list goes on! But these challenges aren’t insurmountable if we learn how to cope with them in healthy ways so that our overall wellbeing doesn’t suffer as a result of these changes in fortune.”
How do you deal with those challenges in the moment?
When you’re facing a particularly challenging situation, how do you deal with it?
Do you rely on self-soothing techniques like mindfulness or distraction? Or do you turn to meditation or exercise when things get stressful.
What are some of the most effective ways for you to cope with stress and anxiety in the moment?
What is a typical day like for you right now?
- Most people have a pretty standard routine. They wake up, go to work or school and then come home. They eat dinner with their family, watch some TV and then go to bed for the night.
- But what about you? What’s your typical day like?
- Are there any differences between this week and last week? If so, how are they different?
- How do those differences make you feel about yourself or your life in general?
How do you feel about the role of medication in your treatment plan?
You might be thinking: “Why would a therapist care about what I think about medication?” Well, it’s because they want you to feel supported in your treatment plan.
They know that some people feel strongly against taking drugs and others are comfortable with them. They want to know where you stand so that they can tailor their advice accordingly and make sure you get the most out of therapy by making sure there’s no conflict between what they’re saying and how you feel.
Talking about mental health requires being honest.
Being honest with yourself is the first step to having a healthy relationship with your mental health. You need to be able to recognize when something is off and then seek help, whether that’s through therapy or some other form of treatment.
If you’re not being honest with yourself and your therapist, it can make it difficult for either party to provide effective treatment. For example: if you tell your therapist that everything is fine when really there are things happening in your life that are causing distress or anxiety (like moving across the country), then they won’t know how best to help their client because they have no idea what’s going on outside of the office hours or sessions together! For someone else’s opinion about our well-being matters at all–whether it be from another person or ourselves. We must believe them enough so as not to to question their motives behind giving said opinion (or advice).
I hope this list has given you some ideas of what to talk about with your therapist, and that it will help you feel more comfortable in your sessions. Remember: there’s no right or wrong way to have these conversations. You don’t need to follow every question on this list or even any of them at all! The most important thing is that both parties feel comfortable enough so that they can speak openly about their mental health issues without fear of judgment or stigma from each other.
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