The end of a counseling session can be pretty hectic. You’re trying to squeeze in one last thought, remember your coat, avoid getting distracted by emails when you pull out your phone to schedule the next appointment....
We’d like to suggest a new structure for those last few minutes. Try this to leave your counseling sessions feeling more organized and ready to make the most of the next week. We’ve even put together a printable worksheet you can use.
First, stop with five minutes to go. It can be tempting to squeeze in one final thought, but try to resist. Ask for your counselor’s help – they’ll be happy to! Chances are, if you were feeling rushed, they were too.
Second, take a couple of minutes to reflect on the session. Summarize the main things you talked about, highlighting anything interesting. This will help you remember important insights from way back at the start of your session. Try writing down the high points, so you can look back at them during the week.
Third, take the next two minutes to talk through what you will do before your next appointment to put these insights into practice. If you and your counselor already discussed ideas, great. If not, feel free to ask your counselor for suggestions, or to suggest some of your own. Some ideas: track your daily anxiety levels, write down things you’re proud of, take three minutes every morning to walk outdoors and look around, or read a book or article you discussed in session.
Fourth, take the last minute for scheduling. Make sure to breathe and take your time as you leave the session. Returning to “normal life” from a counseling appointment can be difficult. You’ve put in an hour of hard work – give yourself the grace of a mental pat on the back!