Making Therapy More Impactful: Focusing Your Attention On Your Intention

Making Therapy More Impactful:

Focusing Your Attention On Your Intention

 


Yes, this blog post is about therapy homework

 

Hi! I’m Stephanie Bain, an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist. I believe therapy can be a space for insight, a space for feeling heard and understood, a space to process certain experiences, a space for you to be you. Therapy can also be a space to explore what shifts you want to make in your day-to-day life including building a better sense of who you are, soothing anxiety, increasing emotional regulation, and working on broader life goals. 

If you want to make changes like these, the work you do outside of therapy has been demonstrated to positively increase the likelihood of therapeutic success 1 2 3. This is what I call focusing your attention on your intention. You and your therapist can work together to establish therapy goals (AKA intentions) that are meaningful and attainable and then find tools and practices intended to serve those goals. Time in therapy can serve to troubleshoot your work at home and as a space of gentle accountability (are you indeed, focusing your attention on your intention?). 

Below are some examples* of what your work at home might look like. 

Intention: Reducing Anxiety

Anxiety may feel like fear or dread, without even knowing what you are fearing or dreading. Feeling high levels of anxiety on a regular basis generally points to some level of nervous system dysregulation. Therapy can help you understand the roots of your anxiety but a daily practice of checking in with your thoughts, feelings, and body outside of session is crucial for nervous system regulation.

 

Let’s focus your attention on…

Establishing a Daily Practice For Soothing the Nervous System

Body Scan Meditation

10 Minute Meditation to Start Your Day

4-7-8 Calming Breath

Easy Qi Gong For Tension in The Body

Grounding in The Here and Now:

5 Senses Grounding Exercise

Getting Better Sleep

Bed Time Story: Nordland Night Train

Yoga Nidra for Sleep

Intention: Establishing a Stronger Sense of Self 

Establishing a stronger sense of self means knowing who you are and what is going on inside. Insights gained in therapy can be transformational and self-inquiry has been demonstrated to increase satisfaction in relationships. Here are some ways to keep that momentum going after therapy.

 

Let’s focus your attention on…

 

Establishing a Relationship With Yourself Through a Daily Check-In

15 Minute Meditation For Self-Love

Morning Pages

Gratitude Journal

Understanding What Makes You You

Personifying Emotions

What Are Your Core Beliefs About Yourself

Your Values

What Do You Want From Your Life

Deeply Understanding What You Are Feeling and Thinking

Self-Investigation Exercise 

Feelings and Needs

Thought Distortion Tracker 

Intention: Increasing Ability to Self-Regulate

Increasing your ability to self-regulate helps you find calm and clarity when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Being able to self-regulate is a critical skill in helping us act in accordance with our authentic selves in friendships, romantic relationships, in community, and at work. Inability to self-regulate is highly correlated with trauma. Working with a trauma-focused therapist and practicing skills focused on mindfulness literally helps to rewire the brain, making emotional regulation more accessible and natural, which can help you move through the world in the way you, well, intend to.

 

Let’s focus your attention on…

Being Kind to Yourself

Self-Compassion During Emotional Difficulty

Speaking to Yourself Like a Friend

Thinking Logically

Radical Acceptance

What Do I Have Control Over in This Moment

Practicing Regulating During An Emotional Crisis

Distress Tolerance

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (if feeling urgent, skip the first 2 mins 40 seconds)

Paced Breathing (if feeling urgent, skip the first 3 minutes 50 seconds)

Ready to start focusing your attention on your intention? You can find out more about how I work here or look at all the therapists at Center for Mindfulness here

With love,

Stephanie 

***Resources are not a substitute for therapy and are not intended for making diagnoses or providing treatment. Not all practices and tools are suitable for every person. Please discuss exercises, practices, and tools with your individual therapist or health care provider. 

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