Talk therapy has long been touted as one of the most effective treatment options for a number of mental health conditions, but open and honest communication in therapy is typically a requirement for it to be a success. While this communication style can come naturally to some, introverts may struggle with prolonged, intensive communication with their therapist.

This isn’t to say that introverts can’t thrive in therapy. However, it can be useful to take some steps toward building better communication in therapy, which can help you achieve your mental health goals even faster.

If you’re struggling to build strong communication in therapy, here are 10 simple tips that can get you started in the right direction.

1. Speak Directly About Communication With Your Therapist

You may have already acknowledged within yourself that you have a hard time with communication in therapy. The best path to overcoming this challenge is to bring it up with your therapist as directly as possible. In your next session, simply tell your therapist, “I’m struggling with communication in therapy.”

As straightforward as it sounds, broaching the topic directly can spark the conversation to help build healthier communication. It shows your therapist a slice of your inside world and can help them determine where your exact obstacles lie.

You and your therapist can use this session to find out exactly what your communication challenges may be, how they interfere with the therapeutic work, and what can be done to improve your skills in the future.

For example, if you find that your primary struggle with communication in therapy is being able to accurately identify and express your emotions, your therapist may be able to give you the skills needed for emotion identification.

If you struggle more with building a trusting relationship, tell your therapist exactly that. Telling your therapist that you’re trying to build trust — but feel like you can’t — can help you and your therapist move toward a solution where you feel more comfortable speaking openly in therapy.

2. Set Goals for Improving Communication

Making a set of goals for better communication in therapy can help you to move toward them. Again, this is a conversation that you can have directly with your therapist, or it’s something that you can identify on your own time and strive to accomplish within a session.

An essential part of establishing a constructive goal is to make it specific. This means ensuring that it’s measurable and achievable, as well as relevant and time-constrained. The goal of “getting better at communication in therapy” may be too vague for you to truly take action on, so instead, focus on key aspects of communication that you’d like to improve.

Here are a few examples of communication goals you can work toward:

  • I’d like to spend more time in my next few sessions talking about deeper issues
  • In my next session, I want to communicate my needs clearly with my therapist
  • I want to break the habit of covering up my emotions during conversations with my therapist over the next month

All of these are actionable steps you can take to improve communication in your therapy sessions and help you make progress toward lasting mental health recovery.

3. Take the Time to Build a Relationship

Many introverts struggle with building relationships with new people. While an extrovert may be able to make a new friend each time they visit a coffee shop, introverts often need more trust, empathy, and connection before they feel comfortable in a new relationship.

This extends into a therapeutic relationship as well. The strongest indicator of therapeutic success is the degree to which you can trust and rely upon your therapist, but building this connection can take time.

It is completely okay if you feel like you don’t quite trust your therapist after just a few sessions. So long as you think that there could be a way for you to build a trusting and empathic connection with them, it’s often best to let the relationship continue to naturally evolve over a couple of months.

Keep in mind that if you deeply distrust your therapist, your own sense of introversion might not be the problem. If you don’t feel like there’s any path to building a meaningful relationship with your therapist, it might be best if you simply move on and find a new therapist who may be a better fit for you on your recovery journey.

4. Journal Your Thoughts Between Sessions

Introverts can face difficulties in therapy for a common reason. Throughout the week, they have daily struggles and challenges that they know they need professional help to overcome. But by the time they are sitting across from their therapist, they don’t seem to have any pressing concerns or know what to talk about to get the help they need.

One way of solving this issue is to practice journaling throughout the week. Putting down your thoughts, challenges, moods, and behaviors onto paper can be incredibly therapeutic in its own right, but it can also serve as a jumping-off point for you and your therapist to drill down into the important issues.

This style of between-session journaling is actually used in many evidence-based therapeutic techniques, including cognitive-behavioral therapy. But if your therapist hasn’t asked you to put your thoughts onto paper already, incorporating this element can help improve your communication skills in therapy.

5. Check In Regularly About Your Communication Habits

Knowing that you have trouble with communication is an important first step, but knowing whether you’re improving is equally as important. Many introverts who start working on their communication patterns make significant progress very quickly, but if this progress isn’t pointed out to them, it can seem like nothing has changed.

By checking in on your communication habits with your therapist, you can recognize the positive steps forward you’ve taken and where you may still be falling short. This process provides you with active feedback for your own personal development and can help you achieve your recovery goals.

6. Discover New Communication Styles

There are countless communication styles you can use with your therapist to help you work toward mental health recovery. Conversation is just one of those styles, and there are several different avenues you can explore if conversation alone isn’t working.

For example, some people find it easier to express deeply held emotions through art, music, or poetry. These options all provide alternative avenues for exploring emotions and thoughts, often with built-in structure to help people identify and communicate their feelings more succinctly.

If you find it difficult to put your challenges into words but can express the emotion through paint, bring a painting into your next session. Similarly, if your poems capture your emotions better than you can through conversation, share your poetry with your therapist.

7. Find and Explore Areas of Discomfort

Often, there are specific elements of the therapeutic relationship that make introverts feel uncomfortable. This might have less to do with your introverted nature, and more to do with the barriers that are holding you back from achieving holistic mental health.

For example, if you struggle to tell your therapist your true emotions, share that with your therapist. Sometimes, understanding why you’re afraid of sharing these emotions with others is more crucial than the underlying emotions themselves.

Provided you’re working with a therapist that you feel is on your side, discomfort in therapy is often the catalyst to change. Determining the underlying causes and conditions of this discomfort can lead to radical changes in thinking, mood, and behavior.

8. Take Notes After Your Session

Have you ever left your therapist’s office and wished you had brought up a certain topic? This is an exceptionally common occurrence, particularly for introverts. Sometimes, you might only recognize the things you need to say well after you should have said them.

Taking notes after your session is an excellent way of both fixing this problem and improving your communication in therapy moving into the future. You can write down all the things you wish you had asked, how you think the session went, and even how you gauge your own progress in terms of improving your communication skills.

Try this tip after your next therapy session. You’ll not only get the chance to have your unanswered questions addressed, but you will also have an easier time communicating what you think is important with your therapist.

9. Try Virtual Therapy

Many introverts thrive in a virtual therapy format. The process of traveling to a therapist’s office, meeting a new person, and familiarizing yourself with a new space can all be taxing to more introverted individuals — problems that are greatly alleviated by a virtual approach.

Virtual therapy means you get to meet with your therapist in the place you already feel most comfortable. For introverts who get easily overwhelmed in new situations, opting for therapy from the comfort of home can often radically increase your ability to engage and communicate with your therapist.

Many people avoid virtual therapy because they feel as though it’s missing the key ingredient of in-person interaction. Yet research into virtual therapy has found that it is just as effective as in-person therapy — with fewer barriers to overcome.

10. Join a Group Therapy Session

It might seem paradoxical, but group therapy can often be incredibly beneficial for more introverted individuals. While it may be a bit nerve-racking to meet an entire group of people to talk about your mental health challenges, group therapy often provides a more relaxed and personal dynamic that helps introverts develop better communication in therapy.

Unlike individual therapy, much of the work in group therapy happens between group members. This means that there isn’t the same rigid power structure inherent in individual therapy, which can make many people feel more comfortable, develop stronger social skills, and find new and healthier ways to deal with their mental health challenges.

Of course, a professional therapist is still involved in group therapy. But rather than providing specific instructions to individual clients, a group therapist is typically there to facilitate conversations and keep the group on track.

Start Treatment at Plus by APN Today

If you’re struggling to find a therapist that works for you, consider reaching out to Plus by APN. Our comprehensive mental health treatment programs offer everything you need to achieve a lasting mental health recovery — from group therapy to innovative mental health treatment options, such as ketamine-assisted therapy.

Ready to explore our therapy and treatment options to find the right plan for your mental health goals? Call our dedicated team directly, connect with us via live chat, or enter your information into our online contact form to get a free consultation today.


  • Markowitz, John C., et al. “Psychotherapy at a Distance.” American Journal of Psychiatry, 25 Sept. 2020,
  • Ruini, Chiara, and Cristina C Mortara. “Writing Technique Across Psychotherapies-From Traditional Expressive Writing to New Positive Psychology Interventions: A Narrative Review.” Journal of contemporary psychotherapy vol. 52,1 (2022): 23-34. doi:10.1007/s10879-021-09520-9