A few months ago, when I was teaching a course about couple therapy to a group of university students, I was reminded of how much I always appreciated course outlines when I was a student myself. The course outline or syllabus covers information on how to contact the instructor, the required reading, assignments and due dates, university policies and withdrawal deadlines applicable to the course, and an overview of what will be covered in the class. At the end of every term I’d have a stack of well-worn course outlines full of highlighter marks and little notes-to-self; these pages had served as important guides that served as a map and a measuring stick, and helped to keep me on track. I relied heavily on them and consulted them often.
Therapy is a considerable investment of both time and money. As therapists, we want to help you to get the most value for what you’ve put in, or return on investment. Therapy can be a bit like taking a class in that most come with the intention to learn something, usually about themselves and the relationships they’re engaged in. However, therapy is a process and much more abstract than most classes. (Yay – no exams here!) But like any educational course, it is tough to get the most out of therapy if you don’t have an outline of the expectations. Here is a “therapy outline” – some suggestions that can help you to enjoy the greatest benefit from the time and money you’ve chosen to invest in yourself through therapy.
These suggestions are only a starting point. Like course instructors, every therapist is different. It is so important that as a client you feel that your therapist is a great match for you. Talk to your therapist early on about their approach and the kind of clients they work best with. By working closely together, we can help you to enjoy a substantial return on investment.
Blog Author -- Jodie Voth, RMFT
Jodie is a full-time therapist and owner of Voth Family Therapy. She enjoys working with teens and motivated adults who are working through transitions and relationship challenges.