John's Blog

The Blog of John Gibson, PhD

Second Therapy Session: "What should I talk about?"

Maybe you’ve had your first session. You’ve explained your problem or concern to your therapist, and you felt like he understood you. Moreover, you feel comfortable talking to him, and you’ve decided that therapy is right for you. Things are looking up, and maybe, just maybe, you are starting to feel better already.

But when the next session rolls around and you think, “Now what? What do I talk about?”

Here are some ideas to stimulate your thinking.

  • When you reflect on the week, what were the key events, problematic areas, or stresses?
  • What thoughts came to you since we last me? Did our prior session prompt any new reflections?
  • Take a moment and go inside yourself. Let your “mud settle,” as a Taoist might say. What are aware of right now? What do you feel? What’s on the top of your mind? Dive deep into your immediate experience.
  • What is the status of the problem that brought you here? Is it the same? Different? Better? Worse?
  • Did you try anything different? Did you take an actions that might improve your life? What were they? Evaluate them. Think of them as mini-experiments in how to live. What steps might you take?
  • If you took steps but they didn’t work, what got in the way? What blocked your progress?
  • Did your psyche present you with any dreams?
  • Likewise, are you a daydreamer? Where do your daydreams take you? Do you see any themes?
  • What things in your life are you avoiding? Avoidance and anxiety go together like hand and glove. Where are your deepest anxieties?
  • Relationships matter –– a lot. Relationships have the power to hurt us, help us, and heal us. Relationships also provide a context for learning something about ourselves. We discover who we are in relation to other people. How have your relationships influenced you?

These are just some ideas for getting started, for getting more deeply acquainted with your own psychology.

Don’t worry. I promise you, we’ll have something to talk about.