The relationship between client and therapist can be as unique, nuanced, and rewarding as many other relationships in life. After all, the emotional work you set out to do together often becomes a bonding experience characterized by moments of both shared sadness and joy.
It can, however, be difficult at times for this relationship to find steady footing. Unlike other relationships, the client/therapist relationship is usually confined to a single room and a short, pre-determined slot of time. Based on experience being both sides of the coffee table, Lotus Counseling Center has jotted down some suggestions to help you find a foothold for this relationship. Following these tips in session can help both clients and therapists make the most out of their time together.
Be open to the process. Think of therapy as an exciting journey without a map and allow the path you traverse together unfold before you. While it’s great to have specific goals to work towards, you might miss out on some special moments if you over-plan your session. Try to avoid coming into the session with a strict agenda since, as a client, this could cause you to overlook important therapeutic moments. Similarly, an agenda could cause therapists to be deaf their client’s most pressing needs. Encourage the process of therapy to be as organic as possible.
Don't judge the session. Clients shouldn't leave weighing what they did or did not receive from a singular session, and therapists shouldn't be left thinking about whether they were effective enough. The value of therapy is cumulative and growth can present itself in unexpected moments inside or outside of therapy, in the here-and-now of a session or some time down the road. Trust that you are making headway in this process one way or another.
Reflect together on your relationship. Sitting in a room discussing sensitive subjects with another person for any length of time is an intimate experience and you will inevitably have feelings and reactions about your therapist or client. Both parties can benefit from talking about how you experience the other person in-session. Clients shouldn’t shy away from addressing any problems or doubts about the therapist since it’s your money and your time. Similarly, therapists shouldn’t underestimate the value of some well-timed self-disclosure. Seeing oneself reflected in the eyes of another is an opportunity for vast personal growth. It also allows you to clear up any lingering misunderstandings and can be a great exercise of trust and bonding.
On par with this advice, the therapists at Lotus Counseling Center strive to create a compassionate, engaging, and client-centered therapy environment. If you’re thinking about starting therapy, please take a look our customer reviews and call us to find out more!