What to talk about in therapy
21 Talking Points + 3 Bonus Therapy Tips
Five tips to talk about yourself in therapy with a new therapist; be honest, don’t hold anything back, talk about your anxiety and depression, say what’s on your mind and there are zero things you should never tell your therapist. Your therapist is there to help you, trust them and work together.
Here is What To Talk About In Therapy: 21 (Real) Topics For You.
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 blog, I am going to help you come up with a plan for going to therapy for the first time because YES therapy is worth it.
Knowing what to talk about in therapy will help you feel confident before you walk into the therapists’ office for the first time.
In this post, I will also cover these key topics when starting therapy.
- What to talk about in therapy
- Your thoughts on why therapy won’t help you
- Talk about your past / not focusing on the hardships at the moment
- Talk about the last emotional experience you had
- Talk over the “small” things in your life that seem not worthy of this time
- Talk about your business / income / relationship / health
- Talk about all of the positive things that have happened in your week
- Ask the therapist what they think would be a right starting spot
- Talk about that thing in the back of the head that you are embarrassed by
- Talk about what you have dreamt about recently
- Bring up how you feel the sessions haven’t been valuable for you so far
- Talk about things you care about
- Talk about your trust issues
- Talk about yourself and your self-destructive behaviors
- Talk about your unhealthy thought patterns or cognitive distortions
- Talk about problems in your relationships
- Talk about your values
- Talk about daily stressors
- Talk about how you feel hurt
- Talk about your jealousy
- Talk about a memory you can’t let go of
- Talk about your goals
It’s not easy to get over the negative stigma towards therapy sessions. We want to applaud you for being here and looking to make the most of your upcoming therapy session and positive focus on mental growth.
Like everything else we do, the more time we put into it more comfortable it becomes. Let these therapy tips help you get to that point.
If you need an extra push of motivation, shoot Tall Paul (our Founder) a DM. He has gone to 300+ therapy sessions, one being a guided MDMA Therapy session (for a better understanding of what MDMA Therapy is like, read his story), and is happy to talk about his experience and guide you to get the most out of therapy.
And if you are an adult looking for therapy topics that will relate to what’s going on in your life, we have you covered also.
What To Talk About In Therapy
1. Your thoughts on why therapy won't help you
Come out swinging. The brutal honesty of telling your brand new therapist within the first 5 minutes this news is the way to go. They will not be hurt, nor judge you.
You will find it easier to choose to be open right away as more mental hurdles come up to voice them. The ability to speak your mind, no matter how embarrassing the thought is, will help in moving forward.
2. Talk about your past / not focusing on the hardships at the moment
You may be seeing your therapist due to recent events in your life, so your focus will be to figure them out. Doing this is not wrong; yet, it might be hard to find the right place to start your story.
Talking about past situations such as hardships growing up or a past brush with anxiety or depression can help loosen your tongue and mind. There is a good chance you might find a correlation between the past and current situations.
3. Talk about the last emotional experience you had
Emotional experiences can be a positive way of finding areas in your life that affected you. Emotional highs and lows leave a lasting impact on your mind and your body.
Bring up the last time you had a heartwarming experience can lead to a more in-depth conversation.
4. Talk over the "small" things in your life that seem not worthy of this time
The key to therapy is to get comfortable with the new human you have allowed into your most sacred thoughts. Starting with the heavy hitters and getting right down to business is impossible for most of us.
You wouldn’t ask your date to marry you after only meeting her for 15 minutes, would you?
Talk about how your friendships are going or what’s happening at work.
5. Talk about your business / income / relationship / health
Try talking about everyday things like work, income, relationships and health. Not only are these forefront on your mind, which should make them easy to discuss and get the ball rolling.
6. Talk about all of the positive things that have happened in your week
Positivity is a powerful emotion! It’s not boasting to start your therapy session by talking about all the positive things in life. Listing off all the items can make you smile and help feel comfortable in your new situation.
By listing off all the positive areas in your week, you could notice a place that was not at those levels. Something that you might not have seen if you didn’t go searching for all the positives.
7. Ask the therapist what they think would be a right starting spot
The desire to see a therapist for the first time may be so great that you don’t have a specific area that is forefront! The feeling of “not feeling right” is the perfect reason to go see them.
When you get into the therapy session, go ahead and lead with that.
“Hey Susan, I’m unsure of what to start off with, I knew I needed to come in because my day to day life doesn’t feel right. Can you help me with where to start?”
8. Talk about that thing in the back of the head that you are embarrassed by
A common reason we don’t see a therapist is we think that they will judge us for their thoughts and actions. This is not true; your therapist is there to listen and help you, not judge you.
Talk about a moment in your life that has been embarrassing to you. Perhaps, there is something that you want to do but have been holding off because you are embarrassed by it.
Let your therapist listen and give you the opportunity to work out the situation with their help.
9. Talk about what you have dreamt about recently
This talking point might be a little “out there” for most of you. Discussing what is going on while we sleep is a viable conversation starter.
Even though our body shuts down to repair when we sleep, our brains are still working away hard, especially if there are stressful events in your life, like anxiety or depression.
Talking through the dreams could help pinpoint areas in your waking life to talk over.
10. Bring up how you feel the sessions haven't been valuable for you so far
Honesty, honesty, HONESTY.
The ability to open up and talk about your faults is needed. So is the ability to tell your therapist that the sessions have not been helpful so far.
Your therapist has many ways of working with different individuals. They might have guessed wrong with you, and that’s ok because they too are only human.
If you don’t tell them that the interactions so far haven’t worked, they won’t adapt.
Like any other professional you might hire in your life, not everyone works out. This conversation may be a good time to agree that they will help you find another therapist.
11. Talk about things you care about
You can talk to your therapist about any topic you want, but try to talk about things that matter to you. Talk about your family, friends, or hobbies. Help your therapist get to know you first.
12. Talk about your trust issues
A therapist can help you distance yourself from a difficult relationship or situation enough to see it objectively. From there, your therapist can help you get to the root of your trust issues and support you by building tools to overcome them.
13. Talk about yourself and your self-destructive behaviors
Self-destructive behaviors aren’t always physical – they can be emotional too. In therapy, you can start to dig into some of the consistent thoughts you have about yourself.
While you might not be fully aware that you’re doing it or able to explain specific thought patterns, maybe you often tell yourself you aren’t attractive or smart enough.
Just start by describing yourself. Talk to your therapist about the way you feel about any aspect of yourself. Our short term thoughts greatly effect our long term vision of ourselves.
14. Talk about your unhealthy thought patterns or cognitive distortions
Talk about how your unhelpful and unhealthy thoughts or beliefs affect you. Do you always jump to conclusions or assume the worst will happen?
Your therapist can help train you to notice these thoughts and ultimately break their patterns.
15. Talk about problems in your relationships
Talk about what bothers you in your current romantic relationship or relationship with a friend or family member. Talk about whether or not you feel heard, respected, or cared for by this person or group of people.
An area you might not think of right away is how you interact with sex. Masturbating often, cheating on your partner and many other sexual actions can mean sex addiction.
16. Talk about your values
Tell your therapist what you want out of life. Tell them that you think it’d be nice if you could feel a little calmer or happier. Have a conversation with them on whether you think being happy is more important than being right.
17. Talk about daily stressors
What are some things that occur regularly in your life that always stress you out or irritate you? Maybe your therapist can help you find a bigger reason for why certain little things like traffic aggravate you so much.
18. Talk about how you feel hurt
If you’ve been hurt by someone important in your life, talk to your therapist about it. It doesn’t even have to be someone you know. Maybe a stranger at the store tried to take their anger out on you this week or flipped out on you because you forgot to use your blinker changing lanes, and you can’t understand why you feel so sensitive about it or personally victimized.
Hurt is a normal emotion, but it can contribute to greater unhappiness and sadness if you don’t let go of it. Therapy can help with that.
19. Talk about your jealousy
Everyone experiences jealousy at times, but life isn’t fun when you feel like you are constantly preoccupied with anyone else’s life but your own. Therapy can help you identify your triggers and habits, so you can start building new ones that will become the foundation for building the life you love.
20. Talk about a memory you can't let go of
Maybe something happened in your past where you made a mistake that you wish you could take back. Talk about the horrible feeling of regret you often feel. Let them know why it’s important that you forgive yourself. Therapy can help you find self-forgiveness as you begin to release that heavy burden.
21. Talk about your goals
Talk about your dreams and goals and what you want out of life and out of therapy. Talk about how you want to be able to deal with issues from your past that have kept you from moving in ahead in life.
Tell your therapist how much better you’re already feeling now that you’re taking control of your life.
What Do You Talk About In Therapy?
The thought of talking to your parents about therapy can be scary – especially if they don’t really understand what you are going through or seem willing to try. So start by explaining a little bit about the way you’ve been feeling lately. Tell them you believe that having proper support and educated advice is the best route to take for many reasons, some of which you might want to share too.
Remember that everyone in life needs help with something at some time. There’s no shame in explaining to your parents that while you don’t know exactly what you need or how it all works, you would like to give therapy a try so you can start feeling better. Our article on how to tell your parents you need therapy will help you work through this difficult time.
If you are already in therapy and want to open up about your mental health or therapy progress, a therapist can help teach you ways to talk to your parents. You might want to explain your thoughts or feelings; or there may be parts of your therapy journey that you want to share along the way. So if what you want is to talk to your parents about therapy, one thing you can talk about in therapy is how to talk to your parents! Because you never know, you might want them as a source of support or encouragement outside of therapy.
You can also suggest certain therapy techniques to your family that allow for all members to work together, one of these therapy techniques is structural family therapy.
How Much Is Talk Therapy?
Talk therapy can cost between $75 to $150 USD.
The cost of talk therapy depends on the type of talk therapy you get and where you go, as well as your health insurance plan.
Unlike a doctor’s visit where you might pay a $30 co-pay once a year, therapy takes time and consistency. While everyone who attends therapy is different, most have to make some level of commitment, which can add in cost over time. On average, a therapy session could cost anywhere from $75 to $150 per session, but these averages vary depending on where you live.
Depending on your income and insurance, it might be worth looking into sliding scale therapy, where therapists can adjust their fees for each client. Other options are choosing group therapy or you can also explore therapy apps like Betterhelp or Talkspace that offer virtual therapy. These typically range a little lower in price – anywhere between $35 to $80 per week.
These are three leading online therapy platforms that can help you.
If you take nothing else from this blog, please read this next section a few times before moving on.
Your new therapist can’t help you if you do not take the time to let them in. They do not read minds, nor do they know everything that has happened in your life up until now.
Commit yourself to at least four sessions with your therapist before deciding, ” Therapy is not for me.” It takes time to feel better.
There are many types of talk therapy; here are four main types. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) where you set goals. Guided self-help where you work through a workbook. Behavioural activation is a talk therapy either one on one or group. Interpersonal therapy (ITP) usually over 16-20 sessions.
There are exactly zero things that you should never tell your therapist. Your therapist is your confidant, who will never judge you or speak badly about you to others. By holding back information from your therapist will only hurt you in moving forward.
To get the most out of therapy, you need to do these three things. One, open up about what is going on in your head and life without holding back. Two, trust your therapist. Three, accept that it is not your fault if the therapy doesn’t seem to be helping. If you find your therapist doesn’t connect with you as a human, that’s OK. Just make sure you know how to break up with your therapist.