My colleague, Kendra Doukas, LMFT, recently wrote an excellent blog post on unconditional positive regard as an essential element to establish a good connection, or a “goodness of fit” with clients. She writes beautifully about the capacity to bear witness to clients in their distress and establish a connection without judgment. When a therapist can truly be with a client, see them as whole and worthy and good even through self-defeating behaviors, the client senses the positive regard and feels seen, heard and held.
When this quality of connection is established, therapy can be highly effective. And, as Kendra rightly points out, the therapist will have legitimacy and position to call into consideration, in collaboration with the client, the behaviors and choices that may lead to recurring difficulties. In that safe space, they can begin to uncover the motivations & the root causes of the client’s challenges. They can find paths forward through new choices, new behaviors. In partnership, the two can find ways for the client to take responsibility for their path forward (different than ‘taking blame’ for the past, a wholly unhealthy practice) and monitor progress over time.
Do you have experience with building a solid connection with your therapist or with your clients? What has worked well for you? Any advice you could share for others? Comment here, or @FindYourMarbles or Facebook.com/lebauercounseling