Updated: Nov 25, 2021
Have you ever wondered how to improve your mental health and reach therapy goals faster? Continue reading to learn how to make the most out of your counseling session by using therapy journals.
It is hard to make progress towards better mental or physical health if you’re only working on that goal one hour a week. This means that it will take work outside of therapy to really make progress towards improving your mental health and, ultimately, your life.
Need help doing work outside of session?
Use a Therapy Journal
Therapy journals can be your best tool to enhance the effectiveness and quality of your mental health therapy sessions. These notebooks act as a travel companion on your journey to better mental health by providing space to track, plan, and reflect on the things discussed during session.
Plan Talking Points
Preparing for therapy sessions can be one of the most important steps you can take towards ensuring the time is spent on the things you really need to talk about. Throughout the week, write down moments that trigger you or situations that were difficult to cope with to process during your next counseling session.
The issues we struggle with often show up in our day to day lives. It is much harder to work with events that happened days ago that we try to remember during session. Add to your list throughout the week and then refer to notes and specific thoughts that you wrote down in the moment to give you valuable, accurate material to share with your therapist in real time.
Reflect After the Session
Therapy often leads to new insights and perspectives. Reflecting on the discussion you had with your therapist can keep that work going and engrain new patterns of thinking. If you have one of those "ah ha" moments during session, or connect with something your therapist said, pause the therapy session to write those down in your journal so you can visit the supportive note later when you're feeling distressed.
It is also is important to track how therapy is making you feel. Often counseling stirs up emotions, causing us to feel deeply while processing through it with the support of our counselor. However, by the end of sessions, and over time, we should be feeling better and less burdened with the issues that brought us to therapy in the first place. Keeping reflection notes where you track how you feel before and after session, and how your therapist made you feel during session, can go a long way towards helping you know if you are with the right therapist and if you're making progress.
Record & Complete Therapy Homework
Often, therapists provide "homework" outside of the counseling session to help clients stay focused and practice skills that are important to progressing towards their goals. Even if your therapist doesn't do this (or doesn't yet), there are still things you can do on your own to continue the work outside of session.
For example, with the help of the guides in this therapy journal, you can create a holistic self care plan, track your moods, or keep a thought record. You can also practice using affirmations to increase your positive self talk, or journal on blank pages about the things you dream or think about often.
Interested in trying a therapy journal? Visit the therapy journal shop to see options and view the interior pages.