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3 Tips To Maximize Your Next Appointment With a Psychologist

By Dr. Craig Dike

Therapy is similar to exercise in many ways. The more that you put into it, the more you get out, and the better you will feel about the results afterwards. In fact, using the term “talk therapy” can sometimes be misleading.

The process of talk therapy is, more often than not, very interactive. It involves taking the time to look inwards and changing both your perspective and your behaviors. This self-exploration is what makes talk-therapy so effective. You are the world’s leading expert on yourself, after all.

And because of how involved the process of talk-therapy is, patients can sometimes come in unprepared to take advantage of the time they have with their psychologist. But fortunately, there are ways to maximize this time:

  • Prior to your first session, write down or make notes of the behaviors, actions, and emotional states you’re most concerned with changing. Being able to tell your psychologist that you’re often anxious and have trouble getting work done because of something you’re worried about is very helpful information.
  • Don’t be afraid to take notes or write down your thoughts during the session or in the days following your appointment.
  • Be open to advice, and give your therapist feedback. If you disagree, let your psychologist know. Communicating openly is key to a successful course of treatment.

The most important advice that we can give to our patients is to come in with an open mind. Therapy only works when our patients are ready for help and motivated for change. That’s why we always strive to be, first and foremost, a partner in your health and wellness.

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dr-craig-dikeDr. Craig Dike earned his doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Indianapolis in Indianapolis, Indiana. He completed his internship training at the Texas State University Counseling Center and his post-doctoral training at San Diego VA specializing in psychiatric rehabilitation and evidence based interventions for severe mental illness. His theoretical orientation is primarily cognitive-behavioral with third-wave influences. He is skilled in the application of empirically-supported group and individual treatments for anxiety, mood, and psychotic disorders. Dr. Dike has clinical and research interests in: metacognition, meditation, behavioral/functional genomics, biopsychosocial models of psychosis, recovery oriented interventions, neurobiology of psychological change, exposure based treatments for anxiety disorders, and CBT for psychosis. In his free time Dr. Dike enjoys spending time with his children, family and friends, traveling, listening to music, hiking and enjoying nature, discovering great local restaurants, and watching his favorite sports of American and English football.