What to Talk About in Therapy

If you’re contemplating starting therapy but uncertain about what to discuss, this blog post is designed to guide you through common talking points that many individuals explore when initiating therapy. It aims to help you discern whether therapy aligns with your needs and concerns.

Taking the step toward therapy demonstrates courage and a commitment to self-awareness, personal growth, and emotional well-being. Let’s dive into the typical emotional challenges people face and explore various subjects you might choose to discuss during your therapeutic journey.

1. The First Session:

The initial therapy session is an opportunity to establish a warm and welcoming environment. Trust is foundational, and as you begin working with your therapist, building rapport and a therapeutic alliance is crucial. In this session, you’ll likely discuss mental health symptoms, medical history, past treatment, family background, recent changes, and begin outlining a general idea of what you’d like to get out of therapy. This process sets the stage for exploring concerns and start developing coping skills on your journey of self-discovery.

2. Mental Health Struggles:

Many individuals initiate therapy to address struggles with mental health, often related to anxiety or depression. Discussing these challenges provides a transformative and healing space. Therapy enables exploration of underlying causes, identification of triggers, and insights into the impact on various life aspects. Conversations with your therapist can lead to recognizing patterns of anxious or depressive thoughts, developing coping mechanisms, and fostering resilience for a more balanced life.

3. The “Small Stuff”:

Even seemingly trivial matters are significant in therapy. Everyday concerns, often dismissed, can offer valuable insights into thinking and emotional responses, uncovering deeper layers and unresolved issues. Therapists help explore these issues, leading to transformative self-awareness and personal growth.

4. “Overthinking”:

Rumination, repetitive and intrusive thoughts, is a common topic in therapy. The constant replay of negative experiences impacts daily life. Therapists provide a supportive space to explore the origins of rumination, understand its effects, and develop strategies to manage and diminish its impact.

5. Relationships and Patterns:

Relationships, whether romantic, familial, or friendships, significantly influence emotional health. Therapy addresses relationship dynamics, explores recurring patterns, and works on improving communication skills. Trust and intimacy, crucial for healthy relationships, are nurtured through therapeutic exploration.

6. Self-Identity and Self-Esteem:

Exploring self-doubt and embracing one’s true self is a common journey in therapy. Sessions focus on understanding self-talk, building self-esteem, and practicing self-acceptance. Therapists guide clients to explore various facets of identity and work toward building self-confidence.

7. Life Transitions and Major Changes:

Navigating life changes, whether a new job, relocation, or significant loss, can be overwhelming. Therapy provides a supportive space to discuss these transitions, explore strategies for adaptation, and view them as opportunities for personal growth.

8. Traumatic Experiences and Healing:

Addressing unhealed trauma is challenging but vital for healing. Therapists specializing in trauma help clients process past experiences, fostering resilience and coping mechanisms for a path toward renewal.

9. Behavioral Patterns Related to Past Experiences:

The past influences present behaviors. Therapy delves into understanding how past experiences shape current behaviors, offering a compassionate look at these patterns and working toward healthier coping strategies.

10. Identity / Values:

For those feeling lost or seeking purpose, therapy aids in clarifying core values. Understanding how to align actions with these values provides a roadmap for personal growth and authenticity.

11. Recognizing Personal Strengths:

Acknowledging personal strengths is crucial. Therapy explores accomplishments, challenges, and inherent strengths, empowering individuals to build a toolkit of coping skills for resilience.

12. Establishing Some Goals:

In therapy, having a clear idea of what you want is akin to having a fitness goal at the gym. If you enter the gym without a specific objective, it’s like exercising without a purpose – trying different equipment but feeling unsatisfied. Now, picture being in the gym with a distinct goal, like losing 10 pounds to fit into those old jeans. With clarity, you can track your progress weekly and gauge how close you are to achieving your desired outcome. Similarly, in therapy, discussing what you hope to achieve allows for the development of a targeted treatment plan, empowering you to make progress on specific challenges and witness the transformation you’re seeking.

13. Deciding When to End Therapy:

Ending therapy is a significant decision, considering goals achieved and stability attained. Collaboratively deciding with your therapist ensures the right timing and leaves you feeling equipped to face life’s challenges independently.

Embarking on a therapeutic journey is a powerful tool for navigating life’s challenges, fostering personal growth, and enhancing well-being. Each session offers an opportunity for self-discovery, and with the guidance of a compassionate therapist, you’re never alone on this transformative path. If you’re considering online therapy in Pennsylvania, schedule a session to explore the support you need.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Christopher Sims, LPC is a licensed professional counselor in South Central Pennsylvania. He specializes in working with adults navigating anxiety, depression, PTSD, and trauma.

Disclaimer: The thoughts, ideas, and opinions presented in all posts on Just Now Therapy serve educational purposes exclusively. I, as the content creator and owner of this site, am not providing medical or mental health advice. The content is not intended to substitute professional medical guidance, nor does it aim to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any disease, condition, illness, or injury. I assume no responsibility for any individual or entity’s liability, loss, or damage resulting from the use, application, or interpretation of the material. Please consult with a qualified professional for personalized advice and assistance.

If you are experiencing a mental health emergency you can call the National Suicide and Crisis Line at 988 or go to the nearest emergency room.