No other relationships we might have are like a healthy client/therapist relationship.
Your relationship with your therapist will be a close relationship built on trust, privacy and respect.
The relationship between a client and their therapist is certainly a unique one. A therapist can be thought of as providing a service or practice, however the therapeutical relationship that is established is an important and healing one that goes far beyond just being a service.
For some clients, forming a personal connection with their therapist could be the first intimate relationship they have had with another person where their deepest feelings and thoughts are recounted and exposed. It’s natural that some people feel they cannot open up and talk to friends, peers or family members about such deep-rooted, private and confidential matters for fear of being judged or dismissed.
Clients will inevitably seek counselling when they need help and want to share confidential matters. A therapist gives a safe and confidential place so that a client can raise sensitive issues and topics without the fear of judgement, reprisal or ridicule. A productive therapy relationship will allow the client to feel safe and understood in order to progress towards a satisfactory resolution, completely on the client’s own terms. When a client feels safe, they will feel more comfortable and willing to open up in order to express deep-rooted feelings and issues. A therapist will be party to their client’s emotional and thought releases. This is the first step towards being aware of the root causes of emotions and thoughts, and the client will be able to explore and progress to a better life.
A client that has a therapeutic relationship will also receive opportunities to reflect and improve, which is something they may not have had the chance to do in their life at all. Due to past traumas or bad experiences, a client may feel rejected, unloved, abandoned or not accepted for who they are. Therefore receiving attention, empathy, care and respect on a neutral ground from a therapist can have a profound and healing effect and give an option for new directions.
The therapeutic relationship between client and therapist is an empathetic and genuine one. It’s unlike the everyday relationships that we form and retain in our daily lives. It’s unbiased and impartial, transparent and non-judgemental, and the client will have the freedom and space to disclose and discuss very personal and sensitive issues, some which can be damaging and debilitating burdens that are lifted after many years.
Therapy offers the client an opportunity for self-exploration in a protected and secure environment, and a therapist encourages a client to be themselves without the pressure to censor or conform.
This connection and environment is a unique one between client and therapist and allows a respectful and trusted bond to develop.
When a counsellor gives genuine care and empathy, a client will feel heard, perhaps for the first time. The client’s sense of commitment to psychotherapy will also strengthen during that time, manifesting into the acceptance of help, self-empowerment and involvement as part of the solution, particularly with person-centred counselling.
A unique therapeutic relationship is acknowledged as one of the most important factors for achieving positive change in the lives of clients. Of key importance is how the therapist and client connect, collaborate and experience one another during therapy. Engagement and sharing of information during the counselling process is also crucial as the client-therapist relationship can only establish a successful result and outcome through a positive and mutual collaboration underpinned by empathy, understanding, authenticity and respect. Self-awareness, self-acceptance and a change in thoughts, beliefs and behaviours will develop from this special relationship.
A therapist will remain focused on their client, giving privacy, structure and space for discussing and clarifying goals so that the relationship is client-focused rather than therapist-driven. The therapist uses their professional psychology and treatment skills to identify and understand their client’s situation, comprehend their thoughts, feelings and motivations and, through therapy, proactively and sensitively help their client with a fresh and different approach.
A therapist will give unconditional, positive regard, which means accepting and respecting their client as they are without judgment or assessment. As part of this unconditional regard, a therapist’s compassion and understanding of a client’s personal challenges and problems, no matter what their actions, strengths or weaknesses, is paramount. By giving their client unequivocal acceptance, a therapist establishes a respectful and safe environment where issues can be brought out and help and guidance can be given.
This impartiality and privacy forms the basis and foundation for a positive therapeutic relationship as it creates an exclusive alliance between the client and therapist. A client will see and feel that their psychotherapist is working with and valuing them as well as understanding their needs.
Find out more about how our counsellors and therapists can help you.