A therapuetic relationship has the potential to settle your anxiety and to heal your personal suffering. It is a relationship that can provide you with a refuge, safety and sanctuary.
You may have lost someone who provided such safety for you, or you may never have had it. Within a therapeutic relationship you may discover potential in yourself that you did not know you had.
The quality of the therapuetic relationship that you are able to develop may be the single biggest factor in determining whether therapy is helpful for you. Beyond discussions of what kind of therapy is most effective, it tends to be the case that it is the quality of your therapeutic relationship that is key to:
- your development
- better self-care
- personal transformation and change
Developing trust in your therapeutic relationship
Trust is something that cannot be taken for granted. It has to be developed. Sometimes this can happen quite quickly, you may instinctively feel positive about the therapist you pick. Sometimes it takes longer to feel you have met someone you can trust.
For each of us a therapeutic relationship will mean different things, and at the beginning of therapy it can be very hard to know what you need.
How should a therapeutic relationship start?
- I suggest coming for an initial session so that we can meet and get an idea of the issues that are on your mind.
- You might find it helpful to bring some notes about what has brought you to therapy now, and what you are hoping to achieve.
- All conversations are confidential.
- There is no obligation for you to come to further session unless you would like to.
- Fees, timings of sessions, and any other questions you have will be addressed in a clear and straightforward way.
What is a therapeutic relationship like?
In my experience we all bring different cares, hopes, worries and anxieties to psychotherapy and counselling. It takes time and patience to develop trust that you feel safe and that your concerns can be safely explored.
You can be so accustomed to adapting to others’ needs that you may not know very much about what you need or want.
A therapuetic relationship is probably the only chance we get to start again, to find and get what we need
In my view your therapy should be a relationship in which you might be able to have the experience of your needs being put first. And if that is possible then you might start to see your own preferences, the choices you would like to make, more clearly.
None of these things can be assumed at the outset of therapy
A therapeutic relationship is a relationship in which you should come first. If you have never had an experience of that, then it may take time to nurture and find out what it means.
Goals of a therapeutic relationship
Having an idea of your therapeutic goals can be helpful, but experience shows that beyond the agreed goals and aims often lie deeper issues and questions.
- You don’t have to know what your goals for therapy are, you just need to come to your sessions.
- You might just feel that you need a safe, confidential space to speak about things.
People sometimes come to therapy with an idea that the work they need to do is about a particular problem. Sometimes it turns out that the the questions they have come to address are deeper than that.
Frequently, the more we engage in our therapy the more we come to realise that our potential might be much greater than we thought. If we get the chance to work and relate in a way that supports our interest and choices, we may start to become interested in ourselves differently. Your creative potential may blossom.
A therapeutic relationship can unlock potential you did not know you had, or knew you had but never had the confidence to explore.
As we experience a quality of shared therapeutic relationship with another person, so we can come to treat ourselves differently. We may start to give ourselves a break. We may become more patient and nurturing towards ourselves and others. Once we start to develop this kind of attitude towards ourselves our possibilities become much greater.
Whatever the goals we thought we had now start to change as we develop and internalise a sense of genuine encouragement.
What we are aiming at is improving the way we relate to ourselves, so that we become more interested in nurturing ourselves and more careful about the kinds of choices we make for ourselves and for those we care for.
A therapeutic relationship may be the one relationship which offer us a genuine chance to start again
We can live our lives in a series of unhelpful repetitions. We tend to pick and choose the same kinds of things and people over and over again. When we attempt to pick something new for us, a new lifestyle, new diet, new habits, these things can be temporarily helpful but they don’t tend to help us develop a better ongoing relationship with ourselves. Developing a better relationship with ourselves is when we start to make meaningful changes.
A therapeutic relationship is a relationship that helps us to develop a better relationship with ourselves.
I have twenty years experience of working with people in therapeutic relationships.
Giving yourself the chance to speak in a confidential setting may prove helpful, it may be the beginning of starting to develop greater insight into yourself and your situation. It may provide you with the chance to find out more about what you need in order to develop a more encouraging, nurturing and supportive approach to yourself, your needs and your future.
Contact me to arrange a free telephone consultation to discuss how my approach might help you.