What do you do when your time in therapy comes to an end? I mean I cried as soon as the zoom call ended and gave myself the time to process what has happened, I also thanked myself for going on this journey. What you do immediately after is up to you, this post will hopefully provide you with some suggestions for your time out of therapy, whether it is temporary or for the foreseeable future. This post will also a reminder of some of the tools you may have learnt in your sessions.
So now that you have finished therapy you are thinking about going out into the big world with some new or improved tools, knowledge and self awareness. You may be a little precious at this time, give yourself time to process your journey, reflect on the highs and even the lows if you had any, because not everyone has a positive therapy experience and if that is something you can relate to then it is even more important to show yourself some compassion.
Affirmations for those in and out of therapy:
I am brave
I am proactive
I am doing my best to look after myself
I am deserving of this time for myself
I am grateful for the lessons learned
I am capable
I am proud of myself
I am open to growth
My wellbeing is my priority
My time is valuable
Things to do during and after therapy
Practice self compassion
Therapy can help you to identify what your relationship with self looks like, you get to understand how much you value certain things and if those values are for you or for others. We can be compassionate to others with ease but when it comes to ourselves we sometimes struggle and have a bunch of terms and conditions to the way we approach self compassion. Acknowledge this and move forward knowing that you will no longer accept cheating yourself out of the kindness and compassion that you are fully deserving of.
Practicing self compassions can look like; indulging in some self care, saying no when everything in you is telling you to say no, tending to your needs, giving yourself the things you deserve, maintaining a tidy space around you, eating intuitively, allowing yourself the space to display whatever emotion you are experiencing, forgiving yourself for mistakes and apologising to yourself for the times you didn’t always honour putting yourself first.
Do we ever apologise to ourselves? we should start doing that more, we get things wrong and we aren’t always self compassionate, but we are human so it’s okay to know this, apologise to yourself and continue to do better because we know better.
Do something for yourself during the time you would normally have a session
You may find yourself feeling anxious or worried, and getting that feeling like you are forgetting something important, don’t worry you probably aren’t forgetting something it is just that this time last week, last month, last year you was spending this time in your therapy session. So what do you do now with the free hour? Do whatever makes you feel like the royal being that you are!
Be intentional with that hour; do you want to practice the same breathing techniques you used in your sessions? do you want to do some yoga? play a couple games? dance around your room? use your favourite adult colouring book? maybe you want to journal? whatever you want to do in this time, give yourself the full hour, you deserve a full hour to yourself.
Maybe even spend this time tapping into your love languages, what does quality time with yourself look like? what does being in service of yourself look like? what does gifting yourself look like? What does it look like to physically love on yourself? What does it look like to speak positively into yourself?
Create some visual reminders of your therapy journey
If you find that you are more of a visual person, and you need some visual reminders of what you learn in your sessions or maybe just some visual reminders, you could also create some personal beliefs or a vision board.
Visual reminders are great because they allow you to be constantly aware of and reminded of what is most important to you. create a list of beliefs like; I can let go of anything that no longer serves me, my wellbeing is my responsibility, my boundaries are fundamental etc. Things that are both true to life and true for you, it is important for those days when we aren’t feeling our best or we feel the need to compromise our beliefs for whatever reason, it also means that you are held accountable.
Create a vision board with all the words your therapist has used to describe your journey and images that represent your journey. Use affirmations like the ones above or create your own and acknowledge your truth. Maybe your journey looks a certain way, draw it or paint it, express yourself creatively. Put your visual reminders somewhere you can see them everyday,
By Identify your tools and how you can use them you are continuing to be proactive, even after your therapy sessions are done. It is important to create consistency in our lives and we do this by constantly checking in on ourselves and doing our best every day. We are naturally going to have days when any of these things mentioned above is going to feel like way too much effort or maybe we just aren’t in the mood for it, but something I find hard to practice and remember is that you should do what you said you would do and not how you feel.
I hope this post gives you some ideas for the things you can do whether you are still in therapy or not, it may also be helpful to read my posts on the lessons I learned from my experience in CBT.