By Dr. April Minatrea - Clinical PsychologistMar 10, 2017

Most people who come for counseling and coaching want their lives to improve as quickly as possible, and because time is money, it makes sense to know how to get the most bang for your buck.  Here are 4 things you can do to maximize the return on your investment:

1. Come prepared.

It is not uncommon for clients to show up without really knowing what they want to talk about, but those who get the most out of their sessions are the ones who have given it some thought.  I recommend coming with an idea of the issue, question, or problem you’d most like to address.  Walk in knowing the answer to the question, “If I could walk out of here with one thing, what would I want it to be?”

2. Balance talking and listening.

In order to help you, it is important for me to understand the nature of the issue, and you may find it therapeutic just to get it off your chest.  You may even start to discover your own solution as you talk out loud.  Yet, when you’re stuck, you may need a new point of view.  Give me the opportunity to respond to one issue or problem before going onto the next.  I will often ask a question or offer you a new angle to help you see it differently.

3. Take notes.

Most of us tend to remember things best when we write them down, so I encourage clients to take notes in session as things come to you.  (I have pen and paper handy if you forget.)  Jot down ideas, insights, and questions that you need more time to chew on.  You make look back later and discover something important that you would have otherwise missed!  You may also start to notice patterns by looking back over everything all at once.  Sometimes that is a key piece in solving the puzzle.

4. Take action.

Imagine if you saw a personal trainer once every 1-2 weeks but didn’t work out in between.  You would expect progress to be slow at best.  Think of me as a personal trainer for your soul!  Clients who take action between sessions see the best results.  Homework can take many forms, and I welcome your input to determine what steps you need to take between appointments to keep moving forward.  It may be something for you to read, watch, or listen to.  A question for you to consider or write about.  A new skill to practice or experiment with.  By doing the homework, you can make progress every day…not just on the days you see me.  The work you do in between sessions may also become the jumping off point for our next session.

Clients who do these things tend to see rapid progress and enjoy the process.  It’s fun to see results!