Practicing skills outside of psychotherapy sessions

An important part of treatment is practicing the skills we learn during psychotherapy sessions during the times between sessions. Practicing skills is like doing repetitions with weights — this strengthens the neural pathways that make our new behaviors easier to do and more automatic.

When we’re in treatment together, I’ll ask you to report:

(1) What skill did you use?

(2) How did it change the outcome?

(3) What’s easy for you?

(4) What’s still a challenge?

We tend to practice skills that are easier and more automatic, and tend to practice the hard ones less often. You’ll have to consciously decide to attend to the skills that are harder for you. Sometimes skills you ate good at also have particular applications that are more challenging. For example, making boundaries with a co-worker might be easier for you while they may be more challenging with family members or friends. We will work together to identify what skills or applications are challenging and set goals for progress in those areas. The best goals are challenging, doable, measurable and important to you.

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