Finding a Therapist (or Being Found by a Client)
Invisible threads are the strongest ties.
– Friedrich Nietzsche
This blog is the fifth chapter in a series describing my mid-life career transition from engineering to a counsellor and psychotherapist working in private practice. (Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4)
A few months ago, a friend asked me for help finding a therapist in a city I am unfamiliar with. I figured this would be a straightforward process, given that I am “in the know”. I started by following the instructions found in an excellent article on our own practice web site (I couldn’t resist the shameless self-promotion).
Indeed, I was quickly able to create a solid short-list of obviously qualified therapists and started to contact them. My experiences from that point reminded me how important our interactions are with prospective new clients.
Here are a few tips I’d like to pass on to others: Continue reading *The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA
As parents, we are often reminded that our children are direct reflections of our own lives. Whether we have a singular fear or set of fears, the likelihood of our children adapting such fears into their own lives is greatly increased. Moreover, if we have a successful habit, the likelihood our children will employ this habitual act into their own lives increases as well. Children thrive upon our dos and don’ts of life. They consciously and unconsciously inherit a vast array of our mannerisms, habits, phobias, traits, and personalities. Children are sponges soaking up the very essence of our lives.
As a therapist, I have worked with many parents who felt disrespected by their children. Sadly, it is not rare for the same parental figures to be struggling with respect within their marital relationship. When parents indicate that their children are “being disrespectful,” or that they are “showing little respect;” I begin by asking the parents to define the meaning of respect. Why? Everyone has an unique definition of respect, but not all respect is equivalent in its meaning.
Continue reading *The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA
The therapeutic relationship is unique in that for many clients, it is the first intimate connection they have had with another person where profound feelings, beliefs and thoughts are exposed. Counselling should provide the client with an open and safe setting that emphasizes self-exploration and change without the client feeling the need to censor or conform.
There are three important qualities a client should look for when seeking a therapist that Carl Rogers emphasized: empathy, genuineness and respect. Empathy is the ability to identify with and understand the client’s situation, feelings and motives. It provides the foundation for a therapeutic relationship because it establishes the personal connection. Traits of genuineness include being open, honest, and sincere and an absence of defensiveness and phoniness. This allows the client to be at ease and increases the opportunity for valuable inquiry and awareness. Respect establishes the safety that is essential in a counseling relationship. By accepting the client as a whole, including strengths and weaknesses, an environment has been established where profound issues can be brought to the surface for examination and transformation.
The client-therapist relationship is essential to establishing a successful outcome by promoting willingness for the client to share and engage with the counsellor. This promotes increased propensity toward self awareness and change in behavior, thoughts and beliefs. It is also important that counseling remain client focused by discussing and defining the goals of the client, rather than the counsellor imposing their own mandates and judgments. This further reinforces the vital characteristics of a positive helping alliance: empathy, genuineness and respect. *The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA