Individual and Couple Therapy
in Tacoma and Seattle

Tacoma Office near Proctor District

35th & N. Cheyenne St

Ample Free Parking

Tacoma Detailed Directions

 

Seattle Office on Greenlake

Greenlake Wellness Group

7900 East Green Lake Drive North, Suite 202

Free Convenient Parking

Greenlake Office Detailed Directions

 

(253) 240-0625

parke@parkeburgess.com



Click the appropriate button below to see what appointments are currently available. Please contact me by email or phone before scheduling a first appointment. I am unable to see new clients without some preliminary discussion. Thank you.

TACOMA APPOINTMENTS

SEATTLE APPOINTMENTS

Existing clients may use the Paypal button below to pre-pay for an upcoming scheduled session.

 

« Healing As a Practice | Main | Trusting the Body »
Saturday
Jul152017

Momentum in Therapy

Sometimes in therapy we are working toward a single well defined goal, and sometimes we are working on many issues at once, or working deeper, over a long period of time. In the first situation, we track our progress from session to session asking ourselves what is changing, how things are improving. In the second situation we take a longer view, aware that deep work unfolds somewhat non-linearly and progress is measured over greater expanses of time.

Momentum is important for both of these, but especially for the first. (I will say more about the second in a future post.) Naturally, we want to make the most of each session. We can best do that when we build momentum across sessions. What do I mean by momentum? We sense momentum when we can readily pick up where we left off the last time, or when work begun in the previous session continues to develop throughout the week so that we can pick up at a further point in the next session. Momentum like this almost invariably contributes to a sense of real progress across sessions toward the identified goal.

The indicators of low momentum might include not being able to remember what we talked about in the previous session; little sense of carrying the work done in therapy through the intervening days; or spending sessions catching up on events rather than working on the material developed in earlier sessions. It’s OK when this kind of thing happens—it’s a normal part of the therapeutic process—but it tends to occur less and less as momentum builds.

The most basic way to create momentum in therapy is to come regularly and often. For most people in most situations (including couples), weekly sessions tend to work very well. There is enough time in between to let the work of sessions filter through, but not so much time that we lose focus. Sometimes, when conditions are acute, I might recommend meeting more often; but this can be very intense and may be more than is required. At the other end of the spectrum, meeting every other week can also work, but it represents the outer limit of frequency for most people, in my experience. For biweekly meetings to be effective, you would have to be extremely regular. Even missing one session could, and probably would, squander any existing momentum.

Another key component to momentum concerns how the material covered in a session is carried forward through the week. If we jump right back into our busy lives the moment we leave our session, giving no thought to the session until we find ourselves back for the next session, we may miss an opportunity to build momentum. That said, it’s also true that we often chew on the material of therapy even when we go on with our normal routines; it’s probably happening in the background even when we don’t notice it. But, even so, if we can also chew on that material in a conscious, intentional way, we are likely to increase the momentum of our work. One way to do this is to write down some notes after each session. Maybe sit in the waiting room immediately after the session, or in your car, or once you get home, and jot down a small number of take-aways that you want to keep in mind as you go through your week.

Lastly, we can enhance momentum by spending a few minutes prior to our session reflecting on the material of previous sessions and tapping into what feels most important right now. It is always OK to arrive at a session without any agenda; sometimes our best work can happen there. But it can also be very effective when we come into the session with a sense for what we want and need to work on in that hour. This is especially helpful when we are working toward a specific goal.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>