The Therapist’s Guide: 9 Self-Care Practices in Between Therapy Sessions

As a therapist, you understand the importance of self-care in your clients’ mental health journey. Encouraging them to engage in self-care activities between therapy sessions can greatly enhance their overall well-being and support the progress they’re making. Here are nine practical and powerful self-care practices that you can suggest to your clients:

Journaling: Suggest that your clients keep a journal to process their thoughts and emotions. Journaling allows them to identify patterns, explore their feelings, and gain valuable insights. By tracking symptoms, moods, and significant events, they can better understand themselves and their triggers.

Homework Assignments: Provide your clients with assignments or homework to reinforce the work done in therapy. These assignments could include journaling, completing worksheets, practicing new coping skills, or engaging in self-care activities. By actively participating in their healing process, clients can build self-esteem and reinforce therapeutic concepts.

Sharing with Trusted Others: Encourage your clients to open up to trusted friends or family members about their therapy journey. Discussing what they’re working on, sharing coping skills, or even passing along helpful insights from therapy can create a support system outside the therapy room. Openly talking about mental health also helps combat stigma and promotes a healthier community.

Preparing for Sessions: Recommend that your clients keep a list of topics or questions they want to discuss in their next therapy session. This list can serve as a guide, ensuring that they make the most of their therapy time and address the issues that matter most to them.

Celebrating Progress: Remind your clients to acknowledge and celebrate their progress. Encourage them to reflect on how far they’ve come since starting therapy. By recognizing even the smallest wins and milestones, clients can boost their motivation and build confidence in their ability to create positive change.

Creating a Coping Skills Box: Introduce the idea of a coping skills box to your clients. Encourage them to gather notecards with therapy insights, affirmations, relaxation techniques, or helpful reminders. Additionally, they can include comforting items like blankets, sensory objects, distractions, or instructions for mindfulness exercises. This personalized box of resources can provide comfort and support during challenging moments.

Cultivating Something to Look Forward to: Discuss the importance of incorporating enjoyable experiences into their weekly routines. Encourage your clients to identify activities or events that bring them joy and create a sense of anticipation. It could be meeting a friend for coffee, indulging in a favorite hobby, or simply taking time for themselves. Having positive things to look forward to can boost motivation and overall well-being.

Prioritizing Rest and Self-Care: Highlight the significance of rest and self-care in the healing process. Remind your clients to set boundaries, practice self-care activities that nourish their mind and body, and prioritize their well-being. Encourage them to engage in activities that promote relaxation, such as mindfulness exercises, taking walks in nature, or engaging in creative outlets.

Seeking Support in Crisis: Discuss the importance of reaching out for help during moments of crisis. Remind your clients of crisis hotlines available for immediate support, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Assure them that seeking help is a sign of strength, and they don’t have to face challenging situations alone.

By suggesting these self-care practices to your clients, you empower them to take an active role in their mental health journey. Remember to customize your suggestions based on their unique needs and preferences. Together, you and your clients can create a supportive and holistic approach to healing and growth.

Take care of yourself, too, as you guide and support others on their paths to well-being.

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