Obviously, if you and the therapist can’t agree on appropriate goals, or if you don’t believe your therapist is capable of helping you achieve those goals, then it will be difficult to establish a genuine therapeutic rapport.

Whatever the reason (except in cases when the client has problems forming rapport in general, even outside of the therapy room; or in cases when a client is unable to manage their life in basic terms), if you don’t feel rapport with a therapist, please feel free to consider the possibility that the problem is with the therapist rather than with yourself—and keep shopping for the right fit.

Of course, if you’ve seen 10 therapists in a row and they all seem “off” in some way, then it’s possible that you’re being hypercritical or you just have a very hard time trusting. The general idea is just that in most cases, a high functioning person’s positive gut-level feeling about a therapist is often an important predictor of therapeutic success.

While discussing issues of fit may be less important with a new therapist, discussing problems with a therapist you did at one point feel very positively about can be a good opportunity to see if you and that therapist can course-correct together. Having candid talks to re-clarify your therapy goals, or making an adjustment in the therapist’s approach to your situation, or reviewing issues that have left you feeling dissatisfied with the therapist can actually be very illuminating. You may even find that by hearing your trusted therapist’s perspective you’ll come to realize ways you had been unknowingly sending mixed signals about what you wanted from therapy. But if you and the therapist never really had a strong “therapeutic alliance” in the first place, then shopping around without investing much (if any) time and money into therapy sessions just to discuss a lack of fit may be your wisest move.



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