You have made an important and potentially life-changing decision to pursue inpatient mental health therapy. Whether you made this choice completely on your own, or have been pressured into it by loved ones or other issues, viewing this as a golden opportunity to positively transform your life will help you get all you can from it.
You are entering therapy, and you have some mixed emotions about what lies ahead. While you may be eager for solutions to the problems you are facing, you might also feel nervous about confronting past trauma or uncomfortable truths. You may be struggling with resentment, even anger, particularly if you have come to therapy under an ultimatum from your family or partner. You may worry that it won’t work, or that your condition is totally hopeless.
First, take a deep breath and remember that these feelings are common and normal for people beginning therapy. Change is often perceived with some degree of fear, even when it is positive. To help you settle in and get the most out of your residential mental health therapy, here are some tips for how to approach it.
Tip 1: Gain Clarity on the Details
You are a couple of weeks away from beginning inpatient mental health therapy, and your mind is spinning with uncertainties and questions. Will my confidentiality be assured? How many times a week will I be in therapy? Will those sessions be in a group or as an individual? What will I do in my free time? Will I be able to go out occasionally, watch Netflix, use social media?
Take the time to write down all of your questions and then discuss these with your selected inpatient mental health treatment center prior to you actually going for treatment. Having these questions answered beforehand will allow your mind to be able to move away from logistical concerns, and focus on the mental health issues you want to address.
Tip 2: Set Goals
Before you enter inpatient treatment, think about what you want to get out of therapy. Do you wish to see improvements in your symptoms, your relationships with others, or your overall outlook? Do you need more tools to cope with triggers and stressors? Are there particular situations or past traumas that need to be addressed so that you can heal and move on? Being clear on your goals for therapy can help motivate your active role in treatment, and provide useful information for your therapist in developing a personalised treatment plan.
Tip 3: Collaborate
Therapy is a deep process of questioning, analysis, discovery, and problem-solving. Its success requires the active participation of the therapist and the client. When your therapist poses a question, try your best to answer it fully and honestly. If you find yourself struggling for an answer, rather than giving one-word answers or saying “I don’t know,” name that struggle and try to explain the feelings around why it’s difficult to talk about it. Don’t be afraid to ask your therapist questions as well, or to raise issues you feel are important.
Remember that inpatient mental health therapy is a safe space where your confidentiality is fully respected and protected. As much as you can, engage with your therapist – this will help build understanding and trust, which in turn will benefit your long-term results.
Tip 4: Give it Time
The first session of therapy can be exhausting, your therapist will likely work through a list of questions to help better understand your condition, your history, and your relationships. For some, this can feel intrusive or uncomfortable, particularly if you are touching on issues that you have rarely discussed or have actively tried to avoid thinking about. You may feel tension with your therapist and wonder if that person is the right fit for your treatment.
These feelings are common in the beginning of treatment, and typically working through a few sessions with your therapist can help build rapport and give you a better sense of whether this is someone you’d like to continue to talk with. If you still feel something is off, consider raising this directly with your therapist. This feedback may be helpful in guiding them towards a new approach, or if necessary, connecting you to another therapist.
Tip 5: Do Your Homework
Often your therapist will finish your time together with some work for you to do before your next session. Instead of looking at this as a time burden or a task you don’t want to complete, consider it as a way to extend your reflection and self-discovery into the rest of your day.
One of the amazing benefits of inpatient mental health treatment is the complete removal of the stressors and triggers of everyday life at home, and thus the ability to focus completely on healing. You have the time to really explore what’s going on in your mind, and create a better future for yourself. Find a place that’s comfortable and quiet, grab a cup of tea, and dive into your homework with a sense of opportunity for further understanding of yourself.
Tip 6: Be Kind to Yourself Between Sessions
The healing process that takes place during therapy will be emotionally exhausting at times. Taking time between sessions to relax and recharge is very important, and typically a residential treatment centre will offer a variety of activities and resources for you to care for yourself. Whether you seek out some quiet time in a beautiful spot, dive into a pool for a swim, or head to the studio for some yoga practice, remember that you have earned a bit of time off after some hard emotional work in therapy.
Tip 7: Practice, Practice, Practice
For anything you learn, the more you practice, the easier it will be to apply your new skills and knowledge in your everyday life. Making sure that you’re taking the new insights you gain in therapy and reflecting on these as you go about your day is important in helping your brain begin to create new patterns of thought, and to practice different ways to interact with others.
It’s as simple as checking yourself when you find yourself falling back into a problematic behaviour (such as negative self-talk), remembering what you have learned in therapy, and then immediately correcting it. While this may feel clunky in the beginning, regular practice will help you gain the most from your sessions.
Tip 8: Be Patient, Be Brave
Therapy isn’t always a gradual progression towards wellness. Some days you’ll feel like you have made a major breakthrough in understanding yourself, and other days you might feel like you have somehow regressed. You will likely go through periods where you’ll feel resistant to going, or try to come up with excuses to miss your session. It’s important to remember this is normal, accept it as part of the process, and stick with your sessions.
Give yourself credit for putting in the work to your inpatient mental health therapy. Deciding to get genuinely involved in your own health is a brave step to take. The long-term benefits from your active engagement will have positive impacts that stay with you for the rest of your life.
Experiencing Inpatient Mental Health Therapy at The Dawn
The Dawn Wellness Centre and Rehab in Thailand is a unique residential centre that specialises in the treatment of mental health disorders and addiction. Located in a picturesque setting in northern Thailand, The Dawn is internationally accredited by the American Accreditation Commission International, and staffed by an internationally trained group of compassionate mental health professionals.
A Mental Health Retreat in Thailand
The Dawn treats a variety of mental health, addiction and co-occurring disorders, including:
- Mood Disorders
- Alcohol addiction
- Drug addiction
- Prescription drug addiction
- Sex addiction
- Gambling addiction
Our centre is conveniently located just outside the beautiful city of Chiang Mai, Thailand, a one-hour flight from the country’s capital of Bangkok. At our tranquil riverfront property, you are completely removed from the stressors and triggers of home, and immersed in a safe and soothing environment.
Call The Dawn today to learn more about our unique and effective inpatient mental health programming.