There are certain things research has shown to lead to better outcomes. These include:
1. Coming to each session with a plan: This includes coming to each session with a plan that contains a goal or something you would like to get from your session that day. This can help you and your therapist stay on track with your goals, and make sure you are getting what you want from each session. A therapy goal can be as simple as "learn specific coping skills" or "talk about my relationship with my mom/husband/daughter," but starting off with this helps.
2. Think about the session during the week: Essentially, the more time you spend outside of the session, thinking about the work you are doing in therapy, the faster your goals will be met. Think of the time between sessions as an opportunity to try out the new skills and new thought patterns you acquire from therapy.
3. Tell your therapist what you like: All therapists work with different methods and counseling approaches, and each also has a unique interpersonal style. If your therapist is doing something helpful that you find changed the way you approached a situation, let them know. Likewise, if your therapist does something that you don't like, or don't find helpful, then it is important you communicate this. Most psychologists and other types of therapists are trained on navigating these kinds of discussions and if you don’t let your therapist know what feels comfortable and what doesn’t, the therapist can't make the adjustments.
4. Be honest with your therapist: You may be seeking therapy for things you feel unsure about discussing, or feel some shame around. If you can trust your therapist, then being honest with what is happening in your life is the best way to make progress. Hiding important information can complicate how your psychologists will work with you, and impede progress.
5. Try new things out: There are often parts of therapy that are focused on changing behaviors or trying new things. If you have homework or suggestions are given to try new things based on your session, giving it a real try will help you find out whether what you are doing in therapy is working.