It’s not uncommon to see therapists talking about how it is important that you, as a client, are comfortable with the therapist you have chosen or have been recommended. It does make a lot of sense, who wants to disclose their deepest thoughts with somebody that just isn’t a good fit for them? What isn’t always acknowledged is that this isn’t just important from a customer service point of view, it can actually have a noticeable impact on the efficacy of the treatment and is not something that should be thought of as a stroke of luck that you have found a therapist that’s right for you.
The relationship between a client and their therapist is an entirely unique one but why is it so important that one develops?
1. Building & Maintaining a Rapport
Rapport is the establishment of a sense of harmony between two or more people, in this case between you and your therapist. It often forms the foundation of a relationship in the early stages of getting to know somebody. You may have heard somebody talk about a situation in which they didn’t seem to ‘click’ with another person or group, which is likely because they weren’t able form a rapport and for some clashing personalities it is in fact a normal albeit sometimes unpleasant experience for those involved.
Therapy of most kinds involves some element of communication which is facilitated by having in place a healthy rapport. Communication that feels ‘forced’ can inadvertently mean details are left out or lead to misunderstandings. This is not a scenario under which the therapy process works well.
Being able to maintain a rapport with your therapist can impact on outcomes.
2. Gaining Trust
A healthy relationship between two people often leads to a certain degree of trust developing. Some therapy clients naturally find it very difficult to disclose sensitive facts about themselves, even when they understand that therapists are duty bound to keep client information confidential. Sometimes the sense that they’re being judged by their own therapist can be enough to ensure details that could impact on the treatment are not mentioned, leading to poor outcomes.
When a trust develops over time, clients often naturally ‘open up’.
3. Continuity & Treatment Planning
Therapy tends to have an effect over a period of time, rather than big steps being made at each appointment. For a client who isn’t comfortable with the relationship they have with their therapist, the decision to cancel appointments that become inconvenient can generate a sense of relief that leads to an inconsistent attendance and a lack of continuity. When a good relationship exists, a upcoming therapy session can be seen as (in the broadest sense) enjoyable, leading to fewer cancellations and a greater continuity of treatment.
4. Well-defined Boundaries
Boundaries allow a strong relationship to develop whilst keeping a professionality to it. Knowing what is acceptable and what isn’t means grey areas aren’t formed and misunderstandings can be avoided.
Such boundaries may seem restrictive at first glance but are important in the long term to ensure a good relationship is maintained.
If you want help being matched up with the right therapist for you, someone who will not just have the relevant skills to help you but also a personality and style of communication that will be ideal for you. We take pride in getting this match right from the start, a quick chat with one of our psychological practitioners who coordinates treatment will be enough for us to make a suggestion as who would suit you best as a therapist. If we don’t get it right the first time, you can try a session with another one of our practitioners for free.