What really happens after you leave the therapists office?
By: Nancy Hawley, MA, LMHC ~
You had a helpful session with your therapist, perhaps learning new skills, having an “aha” moment, or just getting things off your chest. As you walk out the door you’re feeling as if you have left behind a lot less than you came into the office with. You get to where you are going and whoa, you feel tired and VERY emotional. Wait, you think, I just unloaded in my therapists office. Why do I feel this way?
At every check in with every person with whom I have done therapy I always ask how you felt after our last session. I get a variety of responses; relief that I talked about some hard stuff, I had some insights about what we talked about, I understand better why I reacted in a certain way however the most common response is “I felt tired, emotional and didn’t want to interact with anyone.”
Let’s face it. You get out of therapy what you put into it. You can choose to go to therapy and stay “on the surface”, not really delving into the issue, or really exploring how to address it. When you choose the latter, it is emotionally hard. After all, who really wants to talk about memories that have haunted you, the panic attack you had on the way to your therapy session or try to put into words what you are dealing with? It is emotionally exhausting!
I often tell my clients that it gets harder before it gets easier. You may feel as if you on a roller coaster of emotions. It does get easier with time. The more you are able to reflect, gain insight and use the tools presented in therapy, the more your emotions will not control you, you will control them.
Set aside some time after your session to take care of you. Plan a quiet afternoon, connect with your support system, exercise, or escape with an uplifting movie and know that, with time, your healing journey will become easier.