How to get the most out of therapy

I have been chasing various therapy solutions for myself for more than a year. With the stress of propping up my partner in addition to doing all our visa paperwork and handling a few really tough social things, I had anxiety attacks and episodes of depersonalization (feeling like I myself was not real). The online CBT I was offered did NOT help and aggravated me more. I got into therapy through a gender identity service, partly to explore my gender identity and party to learn how to cope with stress, but my struggles with my spouse took up all the space in that, and towards the end of my sessions, my spouse had entered a mental hospital for what would end up being 3 months, followed by 3 brief returns. There was nothing for me and my issues, it all came down to my spouse.

I am soon going to be starting 12 sessions through a carer’s hub. I am hoping that the specialization will help me frame what I can’t change into something manageable as well as, I don’t know, compartmentalize my anxiety needs. I REALLY need to learn how to deal with stress, and CBT telling me to add some kind of “stress relief” into my diary instead of when I choose it adds insult to injury with my full time job, 1 hour each way commute, during which time I’m constantly worried that my spouse is at home working their way back to the mental hospital.

Does anyone know how to get the most out of therapy, or how to most make it work for me?

Hi, Han

I don’t have any advice or good experiences to share, but I am going to follow this thread with great interest.

In may case things are different: I am an ex-carer as sadly my caree has died. I have had counselling but the counsellor seemed to focus on my bereavement, whereas I feel I need to adjust to the impact of having been a carer and have not found a way to to that or get someone to help me with it.

You already know that you can’t take care of someone else without taking care of yourself, so I do hope you can make these sessions about you and not about your spouse.

I found counselling really helpful, when I was newly widowed, newly disabled, juggling the demands of a housebound mum and a son with learning difficulties.
It helped me set priorities, and feel proud of what I could do, rather than always guilty about what I couldn’t, but most of all gave me “permission” to put my own needs first some times. I hope it works out well for you.


Hopefully the counsellor will ask you at the start of therapy what brings you to therapy or what you want to get out of it - if they don’t make sure you tell them right at the start.


Han, I think ylou need to see how it goes, as Melly says. You can’t really know in advance how to think about it. But it should certainly be about you and what you need and want.

I agree that online CBT seems useless. I recently tried the much-advertised OurPath, which may help with weight loss but claims to change your life. It consisted of recommending every trendy positive thinking idea of the last years. We were supposed to write down three gratitudes every day (this may work of course, it is said to work if you do it for 21 days) but I did not sign up to be made a positive thinker, I just wanted to lose more weight or at least rethink my diet. The exchange of meaningless greetings in the group forum and the ‘mentor’'s daily platitudes were not adapted to individual circumstances at all. Actually I didn’t realize it was CBT when I started it. Enough of me!


Must be so hard for you…

Is your commute on the train? is it worth listening to music via headphones. Music is a good distraction and focuses the mind on something else.

I personally find listening to music very soothing.

Good luck with everything.