What to talk about in therapy?
What do people talk about when they go into therapy? It basically comes down to whatever you feel you want or need to talk about.
So what can I talk about?
The inner reflects the outer.
Any therapist knows that whatever happens during the therapy sessions happens on the outside too. Any personal dynamics between you and your therapist may give you important information. With awareness you can unfold personal dynamics with people in your life by practicing on your therapist.
Your daily life counts.
Whatever comes up for you in your life in between sessions is important. Anything that bothered you, annoyed you, makes you think about all the time, would like to change about your life, things that are strong desires or wishes. They tell something about what you do or don’t want to incorporate in your life. Bring them along to the session. It’s all good information.
Past life experiences.
And I’m not talking about a previous life you may have had. I’m talking about the life you lived before you contacted the therapist. Anything that is lingering in your mind, body and soul about what happened. Anything you want clarity about. It may give you insight into why and how you do things today.
Therapy creates distance
Just like in the image (above) therapy can create distance by talking, drawing, moving, from your issues. We also talk about dis-identifying from your issues. To put the chaos that’s in your head on paper or in a movement. It creates space and gives you a moment to pause.
Share what you’ve learned about yourself.
Did you get new insights about yourself in between sessions. It’s nice to share what you’ve learned. What you know for sure about yourself. It helps to build a strong foundation you can build your new self on.
Keeping things to yourself
Ofcourse there are topics you’d rather keep to yourself. When you feel shame or guilt. When it even feels silly to mention it because you think the therapist will have an opinion about it. Or because they were shaming… Think about mental, physical, emotional, sexual or spiritual abuse. Leaving out important (relevant) information will alter the effects of your therapy.
Grocery shopping list.
Every now and then you may have no clue what to talk about and you find yourself chatting away about your shopping lists, who put the trash out that week or a daily report on what you did on your vacation. Notice it, mention it and include it into your session. It’s a perfect opportunity to find out why you prefer smalltalk over other topics.
Practice being present.
Perhaps you feel you need to have a topic every time you see your therapist. Not knowing what to talk about can be uncomfortable. Sitting in silence can be terrifying. Would it be ok to let the therapist know. “I don’t know what to say. And it’s making me feel…” You may want to go away from these feelings. Or you may like it. It’s part of the practice to stay present with what is, rather then how it should be.
Sometimes I have clients who cannot find anything to talk about because life is going really well for them. When I ask them about it they say therapy is only a place to talk when things go bad, not things going well. Again, like I said before, it’s very important to also talk about the good things in your life. It helps build a strong foundation. It reminds you that life isn’t all bad. Things come and go. You may enjoy those moments of achievement. You can celebrate your life too.
It takes two.
Remember… you are not alone in therapy. There is someone sitting with you in the same room who has your best interest at heart.