Psychologists and Mental Health Support

IsabellaIsabella Citizen
edited January 2021 in Mind and Body Wellbeing


Last July, I started working with a new trauma psychologist. She also has expertise in ASD and brain injuries (e.g., my strokes). I really like her. I trust her and I've made several gains, but I'm still in an adjustment phase of relating to someone new after eleven years with my former psychologist, who retired due to old age and eventual senility. 2020 was a disaster for me because I lost his guidance. I had to start from scratch and build a new foundation for safety. Again, I really like my new therapist but I'm still getting used to the switch, and the fact I only see her on Zoom because of Covid. It's just ... different.

This therapist is very expensive, and we only have 45 minute sessions. I like to use every minute as constructively as possible because I only get to speak with her once a month (at most). I'm speaking with her shortly, today.

One of the main topics we discuss is my Alexithymia, and challenges identifying or expressing emotions.

Question for NV:

  • Would you recommend that I choose one or two emotions or feelings to discuss, per session? This would involve me planning ahead, doing a lot of deconstruction in my thought process, and identifying those emotions beforehand. I'm able to do this, but it takes a lot of work. It's hard to name and discuss feelings without giving her lots of relevant examples and detail.

  • The other choice would be sharing all the specific details of what's going on in my life, like telling her a story, and finding the recurring emotions / learning opportunities together? This works for me, and it helps her to know / understand me on a more personal level, but it's easy to give so much detail that there isn't time to work on the big ideas.

Of course she has leading questions and constructive dialogue, but I'm never sure which is the best way to proceed or to use my time with full advantage.

I'm just wondering how you prepare for therapy sessions, formally or informally.


I wasn't sure if this should be in the Psychology section, or in Support (Mind / Body, Peer Support?)
Please move it if you think the topic of psychologists / psychiatrists should be in the support subforum.


  • I would pick the second option. Discuss the events of your life.

  • verityverity Administrator, Citizen
    edited January 2021

    I think writing an email about what you want of focus on would be a good idea. That way they can plan and then time would be better spent.

    Having said that there are many styles of therapy and each them will work differently. Some may prefer to work holistically and other one thing at a time.

    I would just be straight to the point about it, and the detail can be for the session.

    I will put this is mind and body.

  • Statest16Statest16 Citizen, Mentor

    Good luck with the new endeavor

  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor

    What I usually do when I talk to someone about things like this is I try to plan ahead (if I can) what details I want to tell them, like you said a specific story or situation that's upsetting me, and sometimes after analyzing that to structure my thoughts a bit I can sometimes figure out emotions that situation gives me, and then I can bring up the fact it makes me feel a certain way.

    It takes a lot of work, but that way I can find a balance between providing details and actually talking about how things make me feel. That's just how I handle it though, since going into therapy or personal conversations without knowing what I'm going to talk about gives me anxiety.

  • AmityAmity Administrator, Citizen

    I agree with the email idea, it saves time in the session, 45 minutes is quite short.

    The therapist I see suggested I do this so that we could get straight to the relevant topics, I get a list of homework for the next week, usually self care related, but also to plan for the next session.

  • Thank you all. We did a mix of stories and my personal observations, which are getting more insightful with time. In terms of planning ahead, she said she's never considered the "email ahead of time" format. She seemed to be thinking about it, or how that would work, because she works as part of a larger group of mental health providers. Everything goes through a booking site. In the meantime I started to use Google Docs to share a list of my questions / topics on the screen. That worked well. We also planned ahead which topics to leave for our next session, and she'll start preparing for those topics now.

    I always have homework as well, but sometimes things pop up unexpectedly and I want to discuss them with her even though they're different to our normal trajectory.

    Thanks again.

  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor

    I'm glad that you were able to plan topics for next time with her, and that you were able to show her a list of your concerns. I hope you can get more fulfillment from your sessions with her and that she's receptive to your suggestions, like e-mailing ahead of time.

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