My therapy buddy was created after I started to see many of my long term clients struggle to continue to make progress in therapy. After a few years, we've gotten through most of what brought them to therapy and how to lift themselves out of it. We'd gone through childhood traumas, attachment issues, relationships stressors and coping skills. Now we were at the "maintenance phase" where we'd process more of what they were going through in the moment. I’ve had many moments where clients would show up, not knowing what they wanted to talk about. They'd have a hard time recalling what happened the last few weeks and focus to how they were feeling in the moment (which was usually pretty stable). Other times, they’d forget what to practice in between sessions and not make progress towards their goals. We'd end up talking about the same topics over and over but there was still that disconnect to actually make any changes.
As a client myself, I’d have moments throughout the week where I’d think “Ooo I need to talk to my therapist about this!” but in session, it’d slip my mind. Other times, I’d leave the session feeling empowered, but a day or two would go by and I’d fall back into the same cycle. I personally love journaling, lists and getting thoughts out of my head onto a piece of paper. I wanted to create something to help clients organize their thoughts and get the most out of their therapy sessions.
My therapy buddy journal can be a helpful tool to process therapy sessions and to brainstorm ways to practice what you've learned.
The top section is something you can fill out before session. Be honest with yourself on how you're really feeling. Are there any places in your life you'd like to improve but haven't been able to?
The bottom section is for right after session, while it's fresh. Take some time to reflect on what just came up. What are your takeaways? What spoke to you that you want to work on? What are the lightbulb moments where things started to click for you? What will you have to keep in mind and what will you have to let go of to achieve your goals? How will you take care of yourself and find ways to cope through your mental health journey?
I know that therapy isn’t easily accessible to everyone. There's a real struggle to find the right therapist to fit you mentally, emotionally, culturally, and financially. While it’s not a replacement for therapy, this can be a valuable tool to guide you towards understanding what are your mental health goals and how to reach them. Your “lightbulb moments” may come from TV shows, music, your job, family, friends or during quiet moments by yourself. Listen to what your mind and body are trying to tell you and this journal can help it become a tangible thing to practice.
My hope is that your therapy buddy can keep you motivated, accountable, organized and inspired. Most importantly, make you feel empowered to take on your mental health!
You got this, buddy!