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How to Set Goals for Therapy Success — Talkspace

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7 Goals You Can Achieve in Therapy

Treatment goals are personal, and what to work on in therapy can differ for everyone. If you’re stuck or unsure where to start, the following therapy goals examples might be helpful. Keep reading and see if you identify things you’d like to work on. 

1. Building healthy habits 

It can be tough to break a habit, even if you know something’s unhealthy. With the help of your therapist, you can work to change your thoughts and behaviors, replacing them with more positive ones that better your life. 

Habits are often unconscious behaviors. It’s the cues in our environment that usually trigger them, according to research. Your therapist can help you become more aware of destructive or harmful behavior patterns so you can create more positive routines (and stick with them).

2. Learning to communicate more effectively

Effectively communicating your wants and needs is a common struggle for many people. This can lead to feeling frustrated, depressed, or dissatisfied. Finding better ways to communicate will allow you to express your feelings authentically. Improving communication is something that can help in all aspects of life. From professional to personal to social interactions, enhanced communication skills can be hugely rewarding.

3. Practicing self-compassion 

Some people have endless compassion for others but struggle to be kind to themselves. If you’re too hard on yourself, you may want to make self-care a therapy goal. Your therapist can help you learn to avoid negative self-talk and put yourself first. This is often a first step towards becoming confident in your life decisions and relationships while achieving greater internal peace. 

4. Starting and maintaining relationships 

Studies show that having strong social support can make you happier and more resilient to stress. One way to do this is by broadening your social circle. In a therapy session, you can focus on establishing and improving interpersonal relationships. One of the many benefits of therapy is that you can learn how to communicate in a relationship. Whether you join a club, take a class, reconnect with people you haven’t seen in a while, or branch out into new social circles, positive relationships can enrich your life. 

5. Finding new coping strategies 

There’s no way to avoid types of stress and anxiety altogether, but you can change how you react to and manage the difficult times you face. For example, you might want to focus on the following in therapy:

New coping techniques can make it easier for you to deal with the ups and downs of life. You can also work to avoid unhealthy mechanisms you’ve been using, like impulsive spending or isolating yourself from others, for example. 

6. Improving sleep quality 

Sleep and mental health are heavily correlated. Not only can a lack of sleep put you at risk for serious health problems, but it can also take a toll on your mental health. Practicing good sleep hygiene will allow you to get the rest you need each night to be as physically and mentally healthy as possible. Some therapy goals examples surrounding sleep habits might include: 

  • Making (and sticking to) a sleep schedule
  • Building a bedtime routine
  • Avoiding electronics before bed
  • Creating a peaceful, inviting sleep environment in your room

7. Accepting and understanding your emotions 

Our emotions affect many aspects of our lives, from our decisions to how we perceive and react to events. 

Learning to identify and accept your feelings can help you deal with challenging emotions in healthier ways. You can work with your therapist to improve your emotional vocabulary, so you’ll know how to share your feelings with others in an effective manner. 

“These questions at the beginning of therapy are intended to set goals before or during the first session. What would you like to accomplish with therapy? What would you like to get from therapy? What would you like to work on or discover? All of these are great questions, and your goals can change as therapy progresses.”

Talkspace therapist Dr. Karmen Smith LCSW DD

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