Reginald C. Blue, Ph.D. & Associated Consultants - Successful Living By Building Healthy Relationships
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The Therapeutic Relationship
Much of what occurs during therapy is dependent upon several variables:  the problem(s) for which you are seeking therapy; the therapist's style and theoretical orientation; and the nature of the relationship that is developed between you and your therapist.  The compatibility and quality of the client/therapist relationship or therapeutic alliance is typically the principal determinant as to how much you will actually benefit from therapy.   The relationship between you and your therapist is even more important than the therapeutic approach used by your therapist.  Consequently, it is imperative that you openly discuss any concerns you have about your therapeutic relationship as soon as they are known to you. 

Important characteristics of a good therapeutic relationship include: 

  • Trust - while building trust takes time, ultimately, you need to trust your therapist and your therapist needs to trust you. 

  • Rapport – as a client, you need to be able to talk honestly and openly and your therapist needs to be able to listen without judgment.
  • Collaboration – you and your therapist must be able to work as a team to develop mutual understanding, define the problem(s) to be addressed and to set and follow through on your identified goals.

 A good therapeutic relationship never involves:                                                                                     
  • Abuse – neither you nor your therapist should ever engage in abuse of any kind, whether emotional, physical or verbal.
  • Prejudice – neither you nor your therapist should ever use racist or sexist language or behavior or express prejudice of any kind based on characteristics such as cultural or ethnic background, religion, sexual orientation, marital status or other personal characteristics.
  • Sexual Contact – A sexual relationship between you and your therapist is never acceptable.                                                                                                                                    
Inherent in a therapeutic relationship is your therapist's focus on you and the significant personal issues that you introduce during your clinical interview.  

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