The therapeutic relationship is a professional one that helps in facilitating the healing process or helps in ongoing maintenance of personal development. Therapy can be beneficial if you’re working through a significant trauma, emotional conflict, or just need a place to vent while gaining personal insights with someone who can offer an objective perspective. Most agree that the therapy relationship between the therapist and client is the most important aspect of the therapeutic process. Regardless of theories or techniques used, if it’s not a good fit relationship wise then it might be more beneficial for the client to seek out another therapist. The therapist and client can each determine if it’s a good fit or not because either one can terminate the relationship. Unfortunately there are times of ethical dilemmas in which unfit therapy relationships are kept longer than they should due to insurance, costs, or lack of additional resources. The relationship is also about whether or not the therapist can help the client or if the client sees a benefit from therapy.
A therapist shouldn’t work harder than their client because clients are responsible for their involvement and progress in the end. Whether or not it’s a good fit isn’t a good or bad judgement. The quality of relationship depends on a number of other factors including the therapist’s style of treatment and the client’s goals or expectations. Individuals and couples go to therapy for help with their most difficult challenges in life so it’s important for them to feel understood and accepted. No one tells anything personal to someone they don’t trust. People face judgements everyday whether it’s through the news, social media, culture, family, work, school, religion, or society. Therapy is ideally the place where those judgements aren’t present so an objective perspective can be gained in order to help meet the client’s goals. The goal is to have a strong therapeutic alliance with a warm, safe, and accepting environment. Every individual is different so one size does not fit all. It can be difficult to terminate a therapeutic relationship but in the end it’s about what is in the best interest of the client. All therapist are there to help even if it is by providing an appropriate referral as needed. Most therapist are happy and willing to work with the next provider as long as the client has provided written and signed consent giving permission to release information.
I’ll conclude this blog with a personal note. I’m lucky enough to get to work with individuals who are capable of making a powerful impact in the world than they may ever fully realize. I’m just as human as all of my clients so I view the therapeutic relationship as an equal and collaborative one. My role is not to judge because as humans we are all capable of falling into similar struggles given particular circumstances. I encourage clients to provide direct and honest feedback about their perceived benefits or lack thereof because it can not only help in their personal growth by being able to speak up but also in the growth of the therapist. Whether it is me who provides their therapy or if I’m able to connect them with a more helpful therapist, I’m here to help.