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How Do I Transition Out Of A Therapy Session?

Have you ever thought about the way you start or end your therapy session? Do you start with an update on the week? Have a ritual you and your therapist have agreed upon? Come in with a list or connection from the last session? All these ways can be a helpful transition into the session. Sometimes we are running from work, or kids, or the gym or a task from home and we physically are in the room but it takes a moment for our minds to join our bodies. 


Similarly, the way we end our therapy sessions can have an impact. We can be sharing very raw and vulnerable things in the session and then have to return to our lives outside the therapy office/virtual space. It can be helpful in our process to think about what time of day our sessions are, what is happening before and after and what we might need to be successful in the transition. 


I encourage you to reflect on how your experiences of the end of therapy sessions have been and what it could look like. This may be what it looks like at the end of the session, or what you do on your own after the session has ended as you transition to the next part of your day. 


Perhaps you consider the following and maybe are already doing some of these things. For some, having a designated ritual can be something that is practiced every week. For others, the way we transition might change from week to week.  Here are some suggestions of how someone may choose to transition:


  • Ending the session with a word or movement that feels reflective of the session as a whole

  • Naming one thing you plan to do for yourself that week between sessions

  • Listening to a guided meditation

  • Making/having a cup of tea 

  • Stretching or finding some gentle movement with or without music 

  • Journal, a brain dump or something with more structure

  • Engage in art making - is there a color or shape that comes to mind? Collage or engaging with materials you have access to

  • Going for a walk or run

  • Having a snack/drinking a cold glass of water

  • Reciting a phrase or mantra 


These acts of transition can be long or short. They are an opportunity to practice regulating yourself by accessing a new or existing resource that may reinforce relative safety and support in the present so that you can continue your day. 


You may have already found what works for you and that’s great! This is food for thought as we navigate our experiences being in therapy. 





For the month of April, Looking Glass Counseling proudly supported The Gavin Foundation. The Gavin Foundation is a nonprofit agency providing comprehensive adult, youth and community substance abuse education, prevention and treatment programs. Serving over 10,000 individuals each year from Massachusetts and beyond, The Gavin Foundation offers a continuum of care to individuals, support services to their families, and programs to increase community awareness and acceptance regarding addiction and recovery.




 

Vera Bednar, LMHC is a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC), a registered yoga teacher (RYT-200) and certified in dialectical behavioral therapy (C-DBT). A Lesley University graduate, Vera earned a bachelor's in counseling and art therapy and a master's in clinical mental health counseling with a specialization in trauma.


Prior to joining Looking Glass Counseling, Vera worked in a wide variety of clinical settings including inpatient, residential, intensive outpatient and an assisted living center with an art therapy focus. She also worked in partial hospitalization programs specializing in trauma, LGBTQIA+ individuals and young adult transitions as well as substance use.




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