Psychotherapy and counseling depend largely on the quality of the relationship between the therapist and the client. The key quality is authenticity. The client should experience the therapist as genuine — both in wisdom and caring. The authenticity of the meeting in therapy sessions is pivotal in bringing about a successful healing result.
The therapeutic encounter requires several other elements. First, mutual respect. Both client and therapist are engaged in a highly complex and sensitive endeavor, which may only be achieved through self regard, mutual consideration and respect towards each other. No matter what arises in therapy this should be the underlying basis of the relationship. Click here to enable the notifications for Sugar Land Integrated Counseling and Wellness.
Second, openness. The ability to be open and to share supports and enables the client’s inner exploration and need for release and freedom from repressed and/or painful memories, grief, shame and guilt. In a society where experiencing and expressing core emotions may still be considered reprehensible, the ability to give and receive emotional expression openly and non-judgmentally — by the client and the therapist respectively –are precious and important elements of the healing process.
Third, empathy. A good therapist feels with his client. Rather than remove or distance himself, the therapist involves himself in the client’s experience and meets the client’s deeply held need to be received.
The next and crucially necessary technique of therapy and counseling is the practice of awareness. Since the client may communicate on so many different levels simultaneously and intensively, the therapist must remain open and receptive. Allowing the client to lead, practicing non-interruption and simply listening are associated key elements to awareness practice in the therapeutic process.
The therapist should be prepared to be alive and responsive, and most of all present, undistracted and able to engage fully with the client’s experience. Intuition is a valuable tool for the therapist. As well as practicing being non-critical and accepting of the client and not interpreting.
The therapeutic relationship is a deep alliance. The key element here is trust. The client must sense the therapist’s integrity, belief in him and concern and ability to bring him through his travail to where he wants or needs to go, or be.
Finally, shared intention. It is crucial that in the first meeting or thereabouts the therapist clarifies the intention of the client clearly and fully. Bearing in mind that this intention is almost certain to change, it should be monitored and spoken about, intuited, modified and made a keen object of awareness by both client and therapist.
Richard Harvey, Psychotherapist, Author and Spiritual Teacher, makes the connection between counseling and psychotherapy and spiritual growth. He speaks particularly to those who are looking for more than they have found in therapy. And offers guidance to those seeking to undertake the inner journey – guidance free of dogma and grounded in what many of us experience as the “messiness” of our personalities.