Today’s Solutions: April 23, 2024

Setting objectives in therapy can be challenging, but breaking them down into clear, attainable steps can be transformative. Therapy is a collaborative journey; while your therapist helps you, focusing on these little goals can lead to profound results.

Acknowledging and navigating feelings

According to Cassie Ekstrom, LCSW, merely noticing daily emotions—both emotional and physical—is an important first step. She offers the following advice: “Acknowledging what you’re feeling—emotionally and physically—on a daily basis is important, especially when starting therapy.” Beyond identification, it’s about learning to tolerate discomfort. Writing down your feelings or exploring them with guided questions might help you manage and understand them.

Examining failures and mistakes healthily

“It’s unproductive to dwell on past mistakes,” says Weena Wise, LCFT. She suggests mindfulness and appreciation activities to move the attention away from regrets. Wise goes on to say, “Learning to reflect on [mistakes] in a productive, more compassionate way will help make goal setting truly successful in the future.”

Recognize toxic influences

It is critical to detach yourself from people who drain your emotional energy. According to Jaclyn Bsales, LCSW, “paying attention to how the people in your life make you feel is crucial.” Setting limits or even breaking ties with people who have a detrimental impact on your well-being might be a worthwhile goal for cultivating a healthy social circle.

Establishing healthy boundaries

Boundaries aren’t just for toxic relationships; they’re crucial with close friends or partners too,” says Adia Gooden, a professor of psychology. She advocates communicating clearly with loved ones, preserving balance, and mutual respect in partnerships.

Expanding support networks

“Having multiple confidantes to lean on when you’re struggling can provide you with different perspectives,” says Stephanie Harimoto, LMFT. Collaborating with your therapist to strengthen existing friendships or form new ones can provide diverse viewpoints and emotional support.

Cultivating self-compassion

Matthew Braman, LCSW, emphasizes the value of self-compassion. He goes on to state, “Many people are taught how to love, respect, and have compassion for others, but unfortunately, they’re not taught to do the same for themselves.” Therapists might use mindfulness and cognitive behavioral strategies to silence the inner critic and promote a positive self-image.

Balancing social media use

“Especially with all of the challenges going on in the world, [too much] scrolling can have a very real impact on your mood,” says Gavin Shafron, a psychologist. Setting screen time limitations and re-evaluating the influence of internet content on mood, sleep, and productivity can be important therapeutic goals.

Remember, these changes do not occur overnight. With practice and direction from a trained therapist, even minor changes can lead to tremendous personal growth and well-being.

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