This post contains affiliate links. Commission earned goes back into creating more content for Never Alone and into our mental health help community.
In today’s article, we will go over various examples of things to work on in therapy. We want you to walk away from this blog with the clearest idea possible as to what and who therapy is for so you will at least keep it on your radar – because there is nothing you cannot work on or talk about to a therapist.
- Things to work on in therapy
- Whatever’s going on in your life and bothering you
- Slowing down the thoughts that keep you up at night
- Controlling your addictive behaviors
- Facing anxiety in daily life
- Improving your relationships with others
- Building your social skills
- Reducing your social anxiety
- Easing and coping with your depression
- Understanding your sexual or gender identity
- Healthy and proactive ways to respond to situations rather than reacting
- Your personal development
- Your professional growth
- Your limited mindset or imposter syndrome
- Your people-pleasing behaviors
- Your perfectionism
- Learning how to set boundaries
- Easing feelings of guilt
- Cultivating more self-acceptance
- Managing emotions from a past unhealthy relationship
- Coping with trauma or PTSD
- Emotional struggles following a divorce or separation
- Food issues or eating disorders
- When you have children with behavioral or psychological issues or special needs
- Managing arguments with friends or family members
- Your lack of confidence or jealousy issues
- Your worry or angst
- Finding healthy outlets for anger
- Understanding your thoughts and emotions
- Recognizing unhelpful thought patterns or toxic behavioral patterns
- Working through fears
- Learning techniques for managing stress
Do you feel fairly content with your day-to-day mood?
Or does it seem like it’s been a while since you last felt truly happy?
And what about your life in general?
Do you feel fulfilled?
Or do you feel like there is a good bit of room for improvement?
It’s okay if you are struggling. And it’s okay if you are struggling even more to put a name or explanation to your emotions, feelings, or thoughts.
What if I told you there were things about your mood and overall life that therapy could improve?
Therapy is an opportunity to work on the parts of your life that make you unhappy – or the parts you are unsatisfied with. You might not know exactly what those things are or why you feel the way you do some days. Still, your feelings surrounding these areas of your life or mental health are real and need to be addressed before they become even heavier burdens.
Can you recall the last time you experienced one negative emotion, and it continued to spiral until it felt like negative thoughts and emotions had completely taken over your mind and body?
Can you recall the feelings of hopelessness, depression, or anger?
What about the confusion in the aftermath concerning where it even started in the first place?
These unhealthy spirals tend to happen if we don’t address our struggles or needs from the start. One negative thought or emotion starts like a single snowflake, just waiting for something or someone to come around and pack in more problems so it can gain momentum to roll downhill, carrying you along with it. But imagine a life where you could determine the direction of everything you think and feel, outside of the circumstances that influence you now.
Things To Work On In Therapy
When it comes to things to work on in therapy, either in person or during online therapy, you can talk about anything that’s going in your mind. A therapist will listen to your struggles and come up with strategies for getting through them. They are here for you in the worst and the best of times. Make sure you read our article on what to talk about in therapy before you go in for your first session, it will help you have a plan for the first 5-10 minutes of awkwardness. And if you are unsure of how often should you go to therapy let us help.
1. Whatever's going on in your life and bothering you
There are times in our lives where something can be bothering you but it seems too small and trivial to be worth talking about with your family or friends. You do not want to sound like you are complaining or maybe it is those close to you that are part of the issue.
2. Slowing down the thoughts that keep you up at night
There are many reasons you may not be getting a good sleep. These are just a few:
- Not getting enough exercise per day
- Dehydrated from not enough water
- Anxiety and depression
- Eating hard to digest, highly processed foods
One common factor for a restless sleep is having too many thoughts going through your head. They may be negative or they may be positive, but they work together to keep your brain working overtime instead of slowly shutting down.
Talking with your therapist is a great way to initially get these thoughts out of your head, and in doing so you will most likely notice there are a lot more things being said then what you first thought. To keep up this routine, you can use an evening routine of journaling to put all your thoughts on paper, clearing your head.
3. Controlling your addictive behaviors
Having someone in your corner to help you through tough times is something we all need. Your friends and family may be here for you with whatever you need, but having a therapist who will not judge you can be the exact person you need to trust and open up full to, no matter what is going on inside your head.
Addiction can come in may forms, sex addiction being one, and you my not always recognize it being something that is affecting your life and those you spend it with.
4. Facing anxiety in daily life
There are many forms of anxiety, like situational anxiety, that we can be affected by, and a lot of the time they are all unique to each individual. With that being so, it is very hard to find a blue print for dealing with your specific anxiety. It is much easier to find out what makes you anxious and a plan to address it when the fear kicks in.
5. Improving your relationships with others
Whether it be your parents, close family and friends or someone that you know a little bit but want to get to know better, your therapist can help you. A lot of bettering your relationships starts with learning your strengths and weaknesses in these areas. It helps keep you honest if there is someone to call your bluff when you say you are doing one thing, yet in real life you are doing another.
Building your social skills falls into the personal growth realm. We all want to adapt and grow as humans, so things we enjoy get easier and things we are not as good at, we can learn over time. Social skills will help you feel more confident in your day to day life, most likely positively affecting your anxiety and depression or moderate depression.
Over 15,000,000 Americans admit to having social anxiety, thats around %7 of the entire population. There are a lot of things you and your counsellor can discuss. Here are 5 quick anxiety relief tips you can try right now:
- Get some fresh air
- Take ten deep breaths
- Go for a walk without your phone
- Go for a workout
8. Easing and coping with your depression
Dealing with depression is hard and it can be very lonely. Having a therapist in your corner will not only help you find guidance on ways to beat it, it will also make you not feel so alone in this hard time.
9. Understanding your sexual or gender identity
Use this time to talk openly and not be afraid of social repercussion. You may already know how you feel and what you want, but not feel comfortable yet speaking openly about it in public yet. Or you may be unsure of what your feelings are telling you, and your therapy sessions are here to help you get a better understanding of what your thoughts and feelings are directing towards. Here is a helpful resource to find a LGTBQ+ or queer affirming therapist.
10. Healthy and proactive ways to respond to situations rather than reacting
Do you find yourself looking back at an interactions you’ve had and wishing you handled it differently? These changes can happen if you work at it, and it starts by recognizing the reasons you react the way you do when these events happen. To make a change like this it usually comes down from a deep personal level you have created since you were young, so it won’t happen right away. Nothing but practice and time put in are needed.
11. Your personal development
Personal growth is such a wonderful feeling when you see it happening in your life. Personal growth is changing things in your behaviour, beliefs and overall outlook on yourself and life. You do not need to stay the same person throughout your entire life, you can grow to become a better version of you.
12. Your professional growth
Most people think of seeing a therapist is only needed when you are mentally in a down place, perhaps anxiety, depression or grief from the loss of a loved one. A therapist can be in your corner for a lot more than that, and one of those things being to help you grow in your business or overall professional growth. Possible reasons to go to a session for professional growth:
- Plan for your end of year meeting
- Come up with a best action plan for asking for a raise
- Find your strengths and weaknesses so you can do better
- Work on growing your weaknesses to become strengths
- Work on your exit plan as you go to work for yourself
13. Your limited mindset or imposter syndrome
If you have imposter syndrome or find yourself not confident in backing yourself to be as successful as you want to be, having a therapist on your side will only aid you. They will be able to be there for you and listen to your thoughts, but they can also give you honest replies that may contradict what you are thinking or saying.
14. Your people-pleasing behaviors
If you always find yourself putting others before you, this can be changed. It is a positive thing that you thing of others, especially in this day and age where humanity is thinking more about itself rather than those around us and the planet, but if you do this too much it can hurt you in many ways.
15. Your perfectionism
There are many positive takeaways from wanting to do things to the best of your ability. But for some people it can get out of hand and their perfectionism becomes a negative return in the output they put into it.
16. Learning how to set boundaries
Setting boundaries is an area that not everyone does well. Being able to focus on things in your own bubble is a valuable tool to make sure you don’t wear yourself out. Also this will help show others what you are available for mentally and physically.
17. Easing feelings of guilt
Allowing yourself to ease the feeling of blame at times can be very hard. Even though if you are in fault, you can’t hold those feelings of guilt for the rest of your life. Having someone to talk to and let the emotions flow out of you will help with the stress of a guilty conscience.
18. Cultivating more self-acceptance
It is easy to think down on ourselves, not allowing room for accepting who we are. You need to remember that you are only human, and we all have faults. Taking the time to talk this through and notice the areas that others see while you conveniently hide from yourself.
19. Managing emotions from a past unhealthy relationship
Moving on from a short term or longterm relationship can be hard. Having to find happiness after leaving an unhealthy relationship or marriage brings on a whole other level of emotional baggage. Dealing with these thoughts, past interactions and overall not positive life experience can take time.
20. Coping with trauma or PTSD
When coping with traumatic experiences or post traumatic stress disorder, you will be facing emotions that you most likely have never dealt with before. They can appear out of no where, stay with you for hours to days to weeks on end, and they will affect every aspect of your life. Time and patience are needed when working day in and day out to get a grasp on these feelings and move forward.
One therapy that is currently being put through the legal system is MDMA Therapy. MDMA therapy is showing positive results when helping people who have PTSD and other serious traumas.
Our founder Paul Marlow was able to take part in his own MDMA Therapy session in 2019 for his PTSD and anxiety, and he shared his story with us.
21. Emotional struggles following a divorce or separation
Getting married, having children and spending the majority of your life with one person will leave an abundance of emotional connections on all levels between the two of you. Having those connections severed all at one time is not easy to deal with and heal by yourself.
22. Food issues or eating disorders
Having an eating disorder is a very hard battle to deal with alone. Talking with a therapist and having many professionals in your corner can help you slowly change how you interact with food and help you find a time in your past that might have a big reason to your interaction with food.
23. When you have children with behavioral or psychological issues or special needs
Having a child that is born with special needs is a blessing in its own to any parents, however not many of us expect this to happen. To make sure you are there mentally for your child you also need to be there mentally for yourself, finding time for your emotions and working on them as time goes by.
24. Managing arguments with friends or family members
An argument can be as big as not agreeing on where your parents will grow old as they lose the ability to make decisions themselves or as small as who will take out the garbage more often. No matter how big or small, an argument is still an interaction that will bring many negative emotions with it. These emotions needs to be looked at and talked about with a therapist who can be a voice of reason.
If you are still living with your parents and unsure how to tell your parents you need therapy, let this help you.
25. Your lack of confidence or jealousy issues
The ability to be confident in yourself when it comes to trusting your lover or partner is not easy at times. Not being able to trust your partner, or lacking the confidence in yourself to give them what they need will wear on you and them equally. The ability to change this is possible.
26. Your worry or angst
When it comes to worrying about things things or situations in your life, it is best to stop and think them through. By doing this, there is a likely chance you will be able to see them in a new light the is not so threatening. This is not always easy to do by yourself.
27. Finding healthy outlets for anger
Being angry is not something to be shamed of. All of us humans deal with angst throughout our lives and deal with it how we know best. However some of us find more reasons to be angry and also lash out in a negative way in countering the anger, that is not always healthy.
28. Understanding your thoughts and emotions
We all have emotions and daily thoughts that are unique to ourselves. Rarely do you find someone who works emotionally the same as you do, so it is not easy to understand yourself at times with no blueprint to work off of. Taking time to go to your therapy sessions allows for you to process your weeks interactions, emotions and thoughts that stood out to you.
29. Recognizing unhelpful thought patterns or toxic behavioral patterns
Once you realize that your emotions or thoughts are not inline with how you want to live your life or go about your day, then you must narrow down exact thoughts and patterns that come up in your life. By doing so you can evaluate the reason why they appear, how you deal with them and how you can try to deal with them differently next time.
30. Working through fears
Having fear in your life is nothing to be ashamed of, it is natural, we all interact with this emotion on a day to day level. The ability to change the fear into another emotion is possible though with focus work and open honesty on why that fear appears.
31. Learning techniques for managing stress
All of our emotions and reactions to daily events are capable of changing over time. You can grow on a mental a personal level. Personal growth covers many areas and one of those being managing your emotions, stress being one of them. Talk with a therapist to go over what stresses you in life, and come up with a plan together to fight that stress and change how you interact with those events.
Things To Work On In Couples Therapy
There are various ways that therapy can help couples and many relationship areas that couples can work on in therapy. Some things couples work on in therapy may include behaviors that harm the relationship, such as infidelity or lack of communication. As with any couple struggling within their relationship, other things to work on in therapy for couples include resolving conflict, repairing broken trust, diffusing tension, rebuilding emotional intimacy, and learning how to communicate needs without hurting feelings.
Maybe one or both of you feel that something is missing from the relationship but don’t know what it is. In that case, therapy may be able to help. Couples therapy helps both individuals explore their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to make necessary changes.
It is important to note that while therapy may help you address things in the relationship, it is not a cure for a healthy relationship or marriage. By that, I mean the success of therapy for couples depends largely on how willing both parties are to work and get things back on track. Engaging in things your therapist recommends will help you get the most out of time spent in therapy together.
Things to work on in therapy for ADHD
Do you feel like you are easily overwhelmed or that things get on your nerves more than they should?
Is it hard for you to plan things ahead of time and follow through with them, even just everyday things?
Do you have difficulty concentrating when a lot is going on around you?
Or maybe sometimes you focus very well on certain subjects but spend more time than you probably should.
If any of this sounds like you – whether or not you realize it – things may be a bit more off-kilter than they should be. And this is where therapy can help. Therapy helps those with ADHD learn to better deal with things when they get overwhelmed or emotionally dysregulated.
Therapy can assist you with developing coping skills and gaining better awareness as to what triggers your negative emotions and behaviors. Finally, it serves as a form of social support for ADHD individuals of all ages to independence by helping them find ways to organize their minds and day-to-day lives.
Goals for therapy are to feel better about yourself over time. These feelings can be something specific and focused in on one area or life or/and something broad reaching that affects all you do.
Between therapy sessions you should work on the homework your therapist gives you. If hey don’t give you anything you can focus on addressing the things that come up that you talked about in your therapy session. Try to put to practice what you talked about with your therapist.
When everything is going well is the best time to talk about things in the past that have affected your mental health. This way you can be in a good mindset to not let those feelings affect you as you bring them up and also plan out a way to address them better the next time they occur.