How do I know what to bring up in therapy? Website/YouTube Wednesday! #KatiFAQ | Kati Morton

Hey everybody, happy Wednesday! And like I’ve mentioned yesterday, today will be my last video of the week because it is Thanksgiving weekend in the States and so I will be taking Thursday and Friday off. But I’ll get back on Monday and on Tuesday I’ll be on Tumblr so ask your questions there. Now before I forget, I tweeted out yesterday the code for free shipping on my website. If you ordered two items or more, they’ve offered free shipping, and I believe it begins today or tomorrow. And, so, I think it was actually yesterday that’s why I tweeted it out then but I can’t remember so it’s all in that tweet. If it’s available now, it will say it and it has the little promo code that you need to use and I think it’s ‘xmas2’ or something like that. So check out my Twitter feed, get the promo code if you want to buy two or more items, you get shipping for free which can really save you the extra I think it’s 10 dollars or something crazy. I forget how much I paid for all that stuff I just got but it’ll really help save you some buckeroos around the holidays. Now, another thing (I have some notes over here cause I keep forgetting to mention these things) I’m also going to be co-hosting a group, an anxiety group, in Westwood and it’s going to be coming up. It’s in the Los Angeles area, obviously Westwood is near UCLA, for those of you who aren’t familiar. It’ll be starting in January and it’ll be running on Monday night. So if any of you are interested in joining, now like I said, it’s an anxiety group, and most of our participants are going to be teenagers. We have a bunch of people around the age of 12 to 14 and some 16- to 18-year-olds. So if you are in that range and you’re in the LA area and you’re interested, shoot me an email at [email protected] and let me know cause I still have a few spots left. I just want to make sure everybody who wants it knows about it and knows that it’s available. We’ll be starting the Monday of Martin Luther King Jr Day. I think it’s the 19th of January or 16th of January. Something like that. Anyway, if you’re interested, let me know. Now I have three questions today, and I’ve already been on the website at and YouTube so I’ve answered many of your questions and commented on many of your comments already. But I have three more and I have a journal topic from Jill so let’s get going. The first question says “Hey Kati, I’ve come so far in my recovery from self harm and suicidal ideations, but within the last week I have slipped back into hearing the negative self harm and suicidal ideation voices in my head. It’s debilitating, it’s distracting and I don’t have any time to miss work now that I have a real job. I don’t want to fall back into the darkness that I was in last year, so what’s your advice?” Now, this happens to all of us. First I want you all to know that struggling and kind of peaking and waning and feeling like I’m doing great in my recovery then all of a sudden the urges come back, is very normal. It can be many different reasons why it’s happening. It can be the holidays, it can be the weather outside, it could be stressful situations around family or friends or money or any number of things that can make us just more stressed, not sleeping as well. It kind of brings our not just immune system, but kind of our emotional immune system down and makes it harder for us to stop those urges from coming up and the thoughts from coming back. And so, when this happens, what do we do? Now I deal with this a lot with my clients and the thing I always say is, What’s in your toolbox? What worked before? Let’s grab it. Let’s pull it out. Let’s get it together. Let’s start using our tools because the thing that happens most often is when we’re really doing well, we don’t really do anything to keep up our wellness. We’re not taking care of our mind and our body. We kind of let things slip because things are okay and we don’t think about it all the time so therefore we’re not thinking of how to take care of ourselves like we were and remembering to journal like we were and remembering to reach out and vent about things that are going on like we used to. So I would encourage you to remember what worked before and put it back into play. But to make sure that we’re doing it regularly, keeping up our healthy mind and healthy body is something we have to do every day. I know that’s really annoying and it sounds like a lot of work but we’re investing in ourselves. We’re investing in bettering ourselves and helping ourselves get through some of the shitty, hard times. That would be my number one word of advice. The second thing that I would offer in the same kind of vein as that is reaching out for extra support – joining a group, getting back in therapy, calling your therapist, anything like that to make sure you have extra support. Even talking to your friends and making sure you have plans to get together with them. Maybe it’s the isolation that’s making it worse. We need to make sure we have all the support that we can possibly get and that we’re going to use our tools. Okay? And if any of you have tools and tips and tricks that have helped you get out of this, can you let us know down below? Because the more we share, the more we all benefit, right? Okay, now the second question that I have is “Hey Kati. You mentioned in this video that one of the clients gave you a gift. What kind of things are appropriate to give your therapist and at what times? Thanks.” Now I wanted to talk about this because the holidays are coming up and I’ve heard from many of you that you’d like to give cards or gifts and you don’t know what’s appropriate to give a therapist. Honestly, as long as it is a small, thoughtful gift, I think it’s fine. Usually clients give me gifts after they come back from vacation and they’re like, “Oh I saw this cute little thing and I thought about you”. I’ll put it and keep it in my office so that they know I liked it and it’s part of our therapy and they’ll see it every time. It can kind of be a good transitional object which are stuff people see when they’re moving through stuff. It can be something that’s always there. Cards are great. Just anything that’s not worth a lot. Don’t try giving your therapist a huge gift that’s really expensive like a $200 cashmere sweater or something like that cause we can’t accept that. Ethically, it puts us in a bizarre situation but anything that’s just thoughtful maybe something you made – you could bring desserts, you could bring any kind of card or anything you made is great. And that’s what I actually received. It was something that my client had worked on and made. And so I thought it was really cool and so obviously I’ll accept it! It was great. So that gives you an idea. Something that isn’t worth a ton but it means a lot emotionally for you, that’s what I would go with. You can give them around the holidays, you can give them around different anniversaries in your treatment, pretty much any time you want to. But like I said, just remember that we’re not supposed to be receiving gifts all the time as therapists. That’s not really what we do, so just make sure it means something to you. You can do it when you feel like it, okay? Question number three. “Hey Kati! How do you decide which topics are most important to bring up during your therapy appointment when life just seems so overwhelming? I’ve made lists, but sometimes we don’t even get through half the list and by my next appointment I’ve got new things to talk about when we haven’t even touched the stuff from the last time. I hope this makes sense. How do I decide what is the most pressing issue? Thanks for all that you do.” Now this got a lot of chatter on the website and a lot of people were like, “Me too, I struggle with this.” “Me too, omg I don’t know either!” Now, when I first read this, my little radar went up. I was like, this person needs therapy more frequently! And that’s the basis, the foundation of what I would tell a client of mine. I would try to find another way to work them into my schedule so that I see them twice a week. Hoping that that’s a possibility for you, that’s what I would try to do because when therapy sessions feel so far apart and there’s so much that goes on in between, there’s never enough time in a session to talk about it all. We want to make sure we get more time in therapy if possible. I know it’s not always a perfect world. We can’t always get that when we need it but please please please try to. If you can book double sessions, do that. If you can book twice a week, do that. Get it to a point where you feel like it’s manageable each time you see them. That’s what therapy should feel like. Otherwise, you’re not really getting your needs met. Okay? Now the second thing. The list is a great idea. But I would focus more on… I would journal, like I always say. I know it’s annoying but I promise it works. I would start journaling every night about what’s going on. And before you go to therapy, I would read through your journal. It helps you see what has been going on and what you have talked about the most. Because you’ll see in your journal if there’s a vein of discussion that you keep bringing up. Like “And, that test is coming up. It’s really stressing me out.” or “And that stupid boy has been really bugging me.” or “That breakup I was going through…” or “I’m really struggling with my self harm urges.” Whatever it is, you’ll see the vein of it running through every one of your journal entries. Journaling really helps us keep a pulse on what’s going on in our lives and emotionally how we’re doing. And then right before session, we can read through it to kind of see what’s going on and that will help us decide what the most pressing issue is. Now the third and final option that I would give is… I do this with some of my clients if let’s say I don’t have them in my schedule to see them twice a week or they can’t afford to see me twice a week. I will offer up the ability for them to email me, knowing very well I will not answer. I don’t respond to emails from my clients unless it’s a pressing issue. But it gives them an outlet, so they can talk about things and that reminds me so I bring up the biggest issue that I feel is happening. It can help us go from there and help us to continue to move forward. It gives them an outlet in between sessions where they can actually express what’s going on and what they’re struggling with. So, I hope that one of those options worked for you and there’s something you’re able to implement into your own treatment. If anybody else has any tips and tricks, let us know, okay? Now, journal topic. Thanks Jill! She sent this a while ago but I always re-search and I look through all of them. Like I said, I read everything and so I came across this today and she said that she came across this idea on her Facebook newsfeed. “When faced with a difficult decision or situation, ask yourself, what would my favourite book or TV or movie character do? If you have a favourite one… I’m a fan of Carrie from Sex in the City. I really like Sex in the City. I grew up watching it. Or I also like Kate Beckett from Castle. She kicks ass. You can pick a character, any character that you really like, that you feel would be a good character to potentially take action as. Because, then she says, “I answered this question from my favourite book character and it actually gave me insight into my situation and how I handle it versus a healthier way to handle it. So I’m taking my book character’s advice and looking at all the good in my life and trying to love me for me.” Give it a try! And I think that’s really cool. It really helps us, like she said, it helps you look at something from a different perspective and sometimes that’s all we need to help make the right and more healthy decision for us. I love you all and I want you all to know whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, I want to let you know that I’m really thankful for each one of you, for our community. I wouldn’t be able to do what I love – making these videos and interacting with each of you if you weren’t there, if there were no community, there’d be no reason for me to put out videos. And so, all of your letters, all of your comments, all of your feedback, are what feeds me and keeps me going. And I’m thankful for you, each and every day. I love you all, I’ll see you on Monday. Have a wonderful long weekend. Bye!


  1. you could also hand your list to your therapist and have them pick out what looks most concerning to them if you really can't decide. journaling and doing that helps me. 

  2. Hi Kati 🙂 Thanks for talking about a question that was on my mind too, about giving something small to your therapist. I've been in therapy with my psych for a year and before that, I saw her as a child. We both have a sense of humour in sessions and I found the perfect thing for Christmas for her- it's a stuffed toy doll of Freud and I'm going to leave it on her chair at the end of my last session with her before Christmas, so she'll come back into the room to see a little Freud sitting in her spot. Would you crack up if a client did that to you?

  3. Question 2 – At the end of my therapy sessions for the year I gave my psychologist a little wooden plaque that has a quote on it. I added a few beads to give it that personal touch and wrote a thank you note for all the help she had given me. I received a call the following week thanking me for it and it brightened my day so much.

  4. yeah number three hit home.. in the beginning that's how i felt but was never offered the option of having more appts. and i've done the journaling and tried letting her read or emailing them but she tells me that they "very meaty" so i guess too much or overwhelming to her.. lol oh well. right now i think therapy is pointless.. 

  5. Hi Kati, is there any chance you could talk about schizotypal personality disorder (I'm fairly sure that's the name of it) in any of your next videos? Thanks 🙂

  6. Love all you videos kati!! The journel topic really helped as I'm trying to get someone negative out of my life at the moment and wasn't sure if it was right – but I need to do what's best for me and my recovery! Thankyou!! X

  7. Hi Katie, thanks for sharing great videos. I just wondered how do you know the best time to end therapy? I've been going once a week for a year now and I feel it's time. I just don't want to things and then regret it.

  8. I have the opposite problem…. I don't know what or how to bring things up in therapy and there are often long pauses during my sessions. Since this is the opposite of having too much does this mean I don't need therapy? I do have some issues that I need to express but just can't.

  9. I don't celebrate thanksgiving.. But I hope you and Sean have a wonderful time! Thanks for everything you do 😊 xxx

  10. Hey! my name is Emilee and I have watched lots of videos on signs and symptoms of depression.I have also heard a lot of people say it may just be hormones, i'm having a really hard time figuring it out. I go 24-48 hours without eating because I just don't have an appetite,I don't like leaving my house to see Friends or family. And not sleeping great and very easily agitated. Maybe I'm being a bit dramatic, or overthinking this but I would appreciate some guidance and advice. Thank you! By the way I love you and your videos! 💕

  11. Hi happy thanks giving kati, I am very truly thankful for your help and support system. I wanted to ask, I told my mum the other day that in my 20s I had I very bad time with eating food and being sick and lately I was also struggling with the same issue. Although I told her things have settled down at the moment. She didn't look at me, I didn't have her full attention!! This is something that I am aware of not having her attention. Now I accept it I think. Is this normal? XOXOX

  12. Hey Kati – thanks for yet another fantastic video. The section on what to bring up in therapy really gave me some good ideas and it's great to know I'm not alone in that issue. I don't celebrate Thanksgiving (I'm from England) but I'm incredibly thankful for your videos and your advice.

  13. #katifaq
    Hey Kati, at my last session my therapist told me she was moving to Montana (I'm from WA). She said she has held back telling me for a while because I really struggle with people leaving & she knew how it would effect me (also had 2 close friends commit suicide in these past 6 months). I didn't realize (until she told me that she was leaving) how much she actually ment to me, and how alone I feel now that she will be leaving. I only trust her & I am on the fence about getting another therapist.. That's just another person that I will open my heart to, to eventually leave as well. I'm so afraid. What do you think? She reminds me a lot of you, I think that's why I love her so much! Thanks, Kati.

  14. We don't celebrate thanksgiving, I'm Dutch and I don't even know what it really stands for. I just know that there is food involved, and being grateful I guess.

  15. She said "now that I have a
    Real job". It could be just the change/new stress. Even tho a real job is a good thing it's still a stressor and a change.

  16. I guess if someone has too much information to bring to the therapy, just try to trust your process. The most important thing will come up anyway. Sometimes different topics lead to the same underlying process, anyway. Sometimes it's your challenge to choose topics and be responsible for your choice. Sometimes you need to take care of yourself more, establish better contact with your inner parent. And my therapist would always help me if I got confused, she'd help me get into a meditative state of mind where I feel more clearly what my soul needs now. Hope that helps.

  17. Hay Kati, I've been in recovery for about a year and a half from psychosis I have been seeing that my symptoms of paranoia and delusions are coming back about my food being poisoned by the government and I get so much anxiety that I end up getting sick. I haven't eaten in about a day and a half. I don't see my therapist till Friday are there anything I cad do to cope with these thoughts? HELP!!!

  18. Hi Kati, I have a #katifaq for you. I'm sexually attracted to my therapist but I've always respected and understood professional boundaries, never tried to dress differently or alter my input into the therapeutic process to appease him, and have never flirted or acted provocatively. He is also very professional with me as well and has done wonders for me and never crosses the line. I've heard a lot of people say you must confess these things to therapists so you can "work through it" but what if it's not really even a problem for you or for them? Do you absolutely have to say something? I think our dynamic and productiveness isn't effected by it so I shouldn't need to bring it up, right?

  19. I think I might be depressed but I'm not sure, I watched ur video about it but I still can't tell, I lay In Bed all the time but I'm usually just in my iPad, which is normal I think cause I'm a teenager, but I have notice that I'm eating less but I don't do that on purpose I kinda just forget that I have to eat cause I'll be on my iPad and be like oops I didn't eat anything yet and I'll go get some food

  20. When I was in therapy I got stuck talking on one issue. I think that issue is the biggest cause of my mental illness, but I couldn't talk about it in a way that resolved anything. What do you do if you get stuck in therapy?

  21. this is a really good video. What I have a problem with in therapy is opening up and feeling vulnerable. I feel uncomfortable with eye contact. Therapy is so nerve wracking because I don't open up with anyone really, like half of the appointment is me just sitting there nervous. I'm getting better because I do have a good therapist now but its hard to admit feelings. I feel ashamed almost. Embarrassed?

  22. I've been feeling really depressed for the past 6-8 months and I told my parent About 5 months ago but she thought it was just a phase and was telling me all that night that I needed to snap out of it. The following morning she asked me whether I was happier and expected me to say yes, so I just dropped the subject and haven't told anyone how I'm feeling. I know I need to go to a therapist but am too scared to ask my parents for any help cause I'm scared of getting shut down and the outcome if I do go. How can I start the conversation with my parents? How can I convince myself that I need help? ( I feel like I don't need help when really I just don't want help cause I'll feel like a burden)

  23. Question, my therapist borough up that if I can get to stop self harming then I won't have to see her every week, she said it like its a good thing and I know it should be but I've started to look forward to seeing her every week and don't feel like I'm ready to start spacing out my sessions. We haven't even talked about why or where it started and I don't wanna space out my sessions. I want to open up more but I get scared. Should I tell her I don't feel ready to space out our sessions? I'm scared I might be getting dependent on seeing her every week and don't know how to take a step back from therapy. I'm scared to when I do get better and we come to that moment, it almost makes me want to not get better, because I'm worried I won't have someone to talk to as often. Help from all kinions, or Kati too ☺️

  24. Hahaha. That last idea from the character wouldn't really work for me cause Severus Snape isn't a good role model!

  25. I know this video is almost two years old and I probably won't get an answer before my next appointment which is tomorrow, but anyway…

    I've actually started writing down what's been on my mind each night. Thing is, this week it's almost all about death and suicide. I don't want to talk about it in therapy again and I don't think I will be doing it in the time between tomorrow and my next appointment. Should I still bring it up? Or should I try to tone it down and talk about other, smaller, problems and things that's been on my mind lately?

  26. Can I see my therapist more than twice a month if I have Borderline Personality Disorder? I thought the point to treatment was for me to get away from my therapist.

  27. #katifaq hey Kat I am Clay. I am bipolar 1. I have 2 question. My First question is If I been hypo mania for weeks is your meds working?and my Second question is I was give Ativan for racing thoughts and help me sleep but it hasn't been working sub 1 time what do you do?thanks Kat!

  28. I was having an issue as well with not knowing what issue or topic would be most important to bring up during my weekly sessions. Having two appointments per week seems like a good idea, however, my therapist works in a clinic within my school, so two sessions weekly wouldn't be possible. In fact, my sessions are sometimes moved because of other patients in crisis.

  29. I have tried journaling I have tried lists I just have so meany issues as others have said we don't even make it through my list and by the time I come back I have a hole new list. I wont to go every week but despite being asked how often I wont to come in I only get 2 appointments a month.I feel so frustrated and unwanted I don't know how to get what I need.

  30. watching your videos makes me want to consider therapy but I don't know how to find a good therapist in the city I am residing in
    I don't want to ask anyone as I don't want my friends to know about it

  31. Great video, as you said if you can't see your therapist more often maybe try emailing them between sessions as a way to get rid of extra thoughts / worries. And it means i don't have to remember important things for up to a month between sessions.

  32. Gifts; anything small and homemade or something that doesn't have too much material value. Arts and crafts are generally acceptable. Whatever you give, be mindful of the relationship you have with your therapist and the purpose of why you are seeing them. Gifts can be a sign of an unhealthy relationship that you may be forming with your therapist; that you are expecting him/her to give more to you emotionally. I did this with one of my therapists, and I got quite obsessed with that individual, because I felt that my sense of worth was dependent on that individual. Yes, I very mentally unwell at the time.

  33. At one point, I had therapy for one hour once a month. Didn't work for me at all at the time. My emotions were all over the place so I couldn't remember what I had felt over the past month. I would be desperate one minute and fine the next, and it was hard to explain.

  34. I’m very depressed and emotionally neglected as an adult and was off and on as a child and I’m also suffering from schizoaffective bipolar chronic depression, anxiety and when I try to go to my parents for emotions and moral support but I end up getting reactions that I don’t feel comfortable with like from my dad.. “I don’t know what to do” and he always says that. My mother has problems of her own but physically. She just ends up pushing the wrong buttons but sometimes I feel it’s not on purpose because of her suffering and it may not be her fault. My dad projects his insecurities onto me by comparing me to someone who now runs his business which he retired but goes into his factory to check up on things, and compares me to her in a negative way. Tells me that I always look like a whore but she doesn’t and I don’t I just can’t take that from him making fun of what I wear or do and it’s hot where I live. I know that sounds trivial but it’s that way about everything. I can’t do anything right to him. It’s either that when we speak and when he just locks his bedroom door and I’m left in my room alone.

  35. My name is Linda and I can’t just get up out of the house because I’m trying to get better mentally, psychologically and emotionally so I can get a good job to help share the rent in an apartment. That way I don’t have to be abused emotionally but I need to be guided on getting therapist for emotional 😭 abuse and my mental health condition although I have a psychiatrist who gives and prescribes medicine I only have thirty minutes per therapy sessions on Wednesday but like in this video trying to find something to bring up or the first way I could start out talking to my therapist so thanks for this video. I have loved all your videos so please make another one about emotional neglect as an adult daughter.

  36. What if the only thing that has helped my anxiety is not going to school and the only thing i do is sit at home and go to the gym

  37. Hi Kati I have a problem, I’m in recovery and the voices are coming back. What do I do? Oh and please don’t share this

  38. For my college counselor I will write things down on my phone and the night before my session I would email it to my counselor. But I do have a new one this year so I don't know it I will do it again since I have a new one this fall

  39. I bringed my therapist cake I make. and also I made her a little hat for her baby when she came back from maternal leave. =]

  40. Hey Kati my question is what would a therapist do if they saw one of their clients who is under 18 smoking drinking doing drugs ect… in public? #katiFAQ

  41. There are only two therapists at the doctors office I go to, so you can only get in twice a month if you're lucky.

  42. OMG I love to hear that I am normal for having peaks and valleys. Emotional immune system. yes.

  43. Thanks for reminding me to journal daily to help me prepare for therapy. It is hard changing to another therapist. I am so sad she left the company. This new one is hard because I want to talk about her, so I can get the same care from this new one. So I talk about the former therapist in case I can teach the new one what kind of care I want from him.

  44. Bizarre ethical situation? Therapists already get a buttload of money either from the clients or indirectly from the clients through the insurance. An expensive cashmere is different? How?

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