How Therapeutic Aids Can Up Your Therapy GameJul 07, 2022
As mental health professionals, we’re always looking for new ways to better help our clients. It’s why we’re committed to CPD, and why you’re reading this blog now! We want to learn more, grow our skills at every opportunity, and give our best to every person who walks through our doors.
In my professional experience, one of the most effective ways to enhance any session is through the use of therapeutic aids. From relaxation scripts and outcome measures, to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and practical tools like My Little Therapy Box, there are a whole host of resources at your disposal.
Every therapist – and every client – is different, so it’s important to take an objective and critical look at what will work best for you and the people you’re supporting. But here’s an overview of some of my favourites.
The Best Therapeutic Aids to Use in Therapy – From a Therapist
Outcome measures, such as GAD7 and PHQ-9, can be incredibly helpful for goal setting in therapy – allowing your client to set a vision of what they want to get from the process. These questionnaires are particularly useful for measuring the severity of anxiety and depression – giving you a clearer understanding of where your client is at, and allowing you to keep track of any progress and improvement in mood.
Setting goals for therapy, and regularly reviewing those goals through the use of questionnaires, is a great way to gauge what’s working for your clients, and where they might need more support.
I often use relaxation scripts in therapy with my clients. Developing relaxation skills will help in the treatment of stress, anxiety, anger and mood disorders, and because they provide an almost immediate sense of calm and relief, they’re incredibly effective for helping your clients to settle into a session.
Over time, you may create your own relaxation scripts, or use a template you source elsewhere. Either way, it’s important to encourage clients to practice relaxation techniques when on their own at home. You can do this by equipping your clients with a script for progressive muscle relaxation, a copy of a guided meditation you may follow in your sessions, or even a breathing video.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective tools we therapists can have in our professional arsenal. CBT helps clients to reframe their thoughts, challenge negative thought patterns and behaviours, and discover practical ways to cope with a range of mental health problems – including anxiety and panic disorders, depression, stress, anger problems, bipolar disorder, drug and alcohol addiction, eating disorders, phobias, sleep problems, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), self-harm, psychosis, hoarding, schizophrenia, and perinatal mental health problems.
In offering CBT, you’ll work through exercises with your clients to explore their thoughts, feelings and behaviours – agreeing on activities they can carry out in their own time, and keeping track of progress made throughout your sessions. You might want to encourage your client to keep a diary or complete a worksheet; either way, CBT is most effective when your client is willing to commit time outside of your sessions – and beyond the end of treatment.
My Little Therapy Box
Of course I have to mention my own product in here! My Little Therapy Box is a unique resource designed for both personal and professional use. With 40 individually designed cards covering a wide range of issues – from sex addiction, lack of trust, body confidence and relationship problems, to anxiety, obsessive behaviour, past abuse and suicidal thoughts – this resource is ideal for prompting conversation in adults and adolescents alike.
You can use these in your therapy sessions by asking your clients to select the cards representing an issue, or issues, that are currently having the biggest impact on their mental health, and all-round happiness. The cards come complete with questions to encourage discussion and deeper thought – allowing you to gain greater clarity around why (and how) your client is struggling.
It’s common for clients to feel uncertain in knowing how to articulate how they are feeling, particularly at the beginning of therapy sessions – which is why aids like My Little Therapy Box can help to encourage communication and break down those initial barriers. You can also recommend that your clients use the cards at home to instigate conversation with trusted friends or family, or even to explore on their own.
Designing Your Own Approach to Therapy
As an integrative therapist, using different models of therapy can be extremely helpful when it comes to creating the right approach for your clients.
Every person is different, and each client that walks through your door will be facing their own unique challenges, whilst aiming for different outcomes from their sessions with you. They’ll also respond in their own way to whatever technique you choose to employ. That’s why it’s beneficial to try out different therapeutic models and aids, and pay close attention to their effect. I would love to hear some of your favourite resources to use in therapy with your clients. Do reach out and send me an email or message me on my social channels. I love to hear from fellow therapists.
Access your FREE 'Creative Therapy Training'
My Little Therapy box all started with my passion for helping clients in therapy who struggle to open up and articulate their feelings into words.
In this 30-minute training session, I share the barriers some clients face in therapy and how we as therapists can help them overcome this by using creative ways to help them engage and get the most out of the therapeutic relationship.
This is the same presentation I was invited to deliver at this year’s BACP Annual Online conference.
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