It is very common for people to feel stressed or anxious about meeting their psychologist for the first time (even if they have seen a psychologist previously). The following information is provided to help you prepare for therapy and get the most out of every appointment.
Writing down your therapy goals will help you identify what is most important and enable you to communicate clearly what you want to focus on and achieve while working together. I encourage you to spend some time answering the following questions to help you identify your therapy goals. You will find some of these same questions in the intake form emailed to you so if you have not completed the form yet I suggest answering the questions now and then copying and pasting them into the form.
1. What specific recent events, experiences or changes led you to make this appointment at this time?
2. What are the 5 most difficult things you are managing currently that you want to address in therapy?
3. Thinking of the 5 things you listed above what are your goals for therapy? (What do you want to achieve by attending therapy? Imagine you have completed a course of 10 sessions of therapy what would you like to be different in your life at that point? What would you like others to notice about you that is different?)
4. What things have your tried previously to address the issues you listed above that did not help?
5. What things, if any, have your tried previously to address the issues you listed above that did where helpful?
6. What things, if any, have your tried previously to address the issues you listed above that did where helpful?
Please email your answers to me using the button below. I also recommend bringing a copy with you to your first appointment.
Therapy Work Time
You will be committing regular time to attending therapy. However if you want to get the most from your therapy experience I highly recommend that you also put aside regular "therapy work" time as well. Therapy work time is important for you to review the work completed in therapy appointments and to practice the recommended strategies and techniques introduced in therapy. I recommend that you identify two, one hour slots of time each week to do this work. I encourage to do this now. Identify time in your calendar and label it "Therapy Work".
To support your commitment to therapy work I invite you to share the time you have committed to therapy work in your calendar with using the button below.
There is strong scientific evidence demonstrating the psychological benefits taking care of our general wellbeing. Although most of us are aware of this relationship we find looking after ourselves often becomes increasingly difficult when we are feeling stressed, anxious, unhappy or depressed. While you are attending therapy we will monitor your attention to the 4 primary quadrants of your wellbeing. These are exercise (movement), nutrition (nourishing our bodies), sleep and meaningful social connection (doing things with others where we feel a sense of connection, belonging and that we have contributed to something in a meaningful way). Everyone will be in their own unique place in regards to each quadrant and we will develop personalised wellbeing plan based on your abilities and needs. To start this journey I invite you to start a daily wellbeing practice and keep a record of your experience. For the next 2 weeks keep a daily journal (in a note book or on your laptop, PC or phone) of your wellbeing activities using the following headings:
1. Today I completed ........... mins/hrs of ............................exercise/movement (Record anything you did that was not sitting or laying down (walking, stretching, cleaning the house, gardening, running, swimming, team sport etc). If you are struggling to be active challenge yourself to do something even if it is for 5-10 mins. Start with stretching or an easy walk. Another very helpful strategy is to ask a friend, family member or partner to join you to do something physical.
2. Today I nourished my body by eating .......................... (Record what you ate throughout the day. Be completely honest as this will help you identify where you are at and potential changes we can work on together. If you want to use this as an opportunity to make some healthy changes challenge yourself to only eat fresh foods for the next 2 weeks. Choose foods that you have to prepare from scratch. Don't use any pre-processed foods or meals and don't order in or eat out. If you don't normally cook at home challenge yourself to learn a few simple meals over the next few weeks. Don't forget to drink plenty of water. For a double challenge cut our all alcohol as well.
3. Last night I slept for ................ hrs/mins between .....................p.m. and .................a.m. If you are struggling with sleep challenge yourself by setting a regular time to go to bed. 1 hour before the time you have committed to go to be stop using all technology (TV, laptop, PC, phone etc) and try any of the following activities instead. Read a book, listen to music, play an instrument, stretch, have a bath or shower, play cards or a board game, write (journal your day or write creatively, draw or paint, do a hobby or craft). For an extra challenge complete a mindful meditation using one of the recommend apps here: https://www.mindful.org/free-mindfulness-apps-worthy-of-your-attention/ (This will involve using technology so if feel that will result in scrolling other apps avoid this activity at this this time. We will discuss the benefits and strategies of developing a mindfulness practise in therapy).
4. Today I ...................................(describe how you connected) with ...................... when ..........................(Record any social connection you had with another person or group of people. This can include housemates, friends, work colleagues, family, professionals, helpers and members of the public. Record how you connected, their names or who they are and the context in which you interacted with them. For example "I chatted briefly with Suzie my housemate at breakfast time", "I phoned my brother this evening", "I talked to my work colleagues when we ate lunch together", "I spoke with my GP at an appointment today", "I asked the librarian for help finding a new book today" etc etc. Try an list as many interactions as you can recall. If you are very isolated and this exercise feels too difficult to do at this time just leave it aside and focus on the first three.
If you would like to share your wellbeing journey with me prior to your appointment please do so using the button below: