In clinical psychology, we often talk about the therapeutic alliance and the importance of a client and a therapist ‘clicking’ or matching. This is critical to therapeutic success and without this matching, the therapy can fail. In this great clinical psychology podcast episode, you’ll see three signs that your therapist is a great match!
This episode is mainly for clinical psychologist and university psychology students but everyone could find this useful.
This psychology podcast episode has been sponsored by Abnormal Psychology: The Causes and Treatments For Depression, Anxiety and More Third Edition. Available from all major eBook retailers, and you can order the paperback, large print and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore or local library, if you request it.
3 Signs Your Therapist Is A Match
After briefly talking about the importance of the therapeutic alliance and the relationship between the client and the therapist. I’ve also spoken about this in past podcast episodes and in my Clinical Psychology book. We need to talk about how do you know if your therapist is a keeper for you and your therapy.
But very quickly, I wanted to add that this relationship is an extremely powerful predictor of therapeutic success regardless of the therapist’s style, treatment duration and some other factors.
You both Agree On Goals
As this podcast is mainly for a clinical psychology audience, we all know in clinical psychology that we need to be collaborative with our clients. We need to work with them but as I always say we have the years of experience in psychology and the theory. Yet our clients have the expertise in themselves.
Therefore, it’s really important we set goals with them and we allow them to call us out when we do something they don’t agree with.
The main reason here is because if we set goals the client doesn’t agree with then they won’t care about these goals. Meaning they won’t work towards them and the therapy could fail with them not putting in the work.
The Work Feels Valuable and Effective
As I’ve mentioned before on the podcast, there are lots of different types of therapy which makes clinical psychology great fun. But we need to make sure our clients know what’s happening and they need to feel like they’re spending their time effectively.
Because too many therapists leave their clients in the dark about the therapy and where they’re going. Making the clients question the effectiveness and how valuable the therapy is.
Overall, making it important to explain what’s happening from the start and making the client reflect on each session could be a good idea too.
Of course, not every session will be mind-blowing but our clients need to feel like they’re making the process to some extent each time.
As a result, some questions to help our client might be:
· Does my therapist and I have a shared understanding of what actions are most important for me?
· Am I gaining new perspectives on my difficulties?
· Do I think we are working towards my goals in an effective way?
Feeling Respected and Accepted
If you haven’t heard of Carl Rogers I really encourage you to check him out but he has a principle of Unconditional Positive Regard towards clients. And this can be applied here because he also came up with the idea of the Curious paradox. Saying change is easier when we accept ourselves and then we can change.
In other words, he proposed that if we make our client know we accept them and we respect them. Then it makes it easier for them to change because they don’t come to us to be changed at the core.
They come to us so we can help them find better strategies to help cope with their mental health difficulties, alleviate their psychological distress and improve their life. As well as once our clients know this and we work respectfully with them, the whole process of therapy gets easier for everyone.
We all know clinical psychology is an amazing area to work in. be it now or in the future but I really hope you got something out of this clinical psychology episode.
If you want to learn more, please check out:
Abnormal Psychology: The Causes and Treatments For Depression, Anxiety and More Third Edition. Available from all major eBook retailers, and you can order the paperback, large print and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore or local library, if you request it.
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Clinical Psychology References
Hatcher, R.L., & Gillaspy, J.A. (2006) Development and validation of a revised short version of the working alliance inventory, Psychotherapy Research, 16:1, 12-25, DOI: 10.1080/10503300500352500
Horvath, A. O., & Symonds, B. D. (1991). Relation between working alliance and outcome in psychotherapy: A meta-analysis. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 38, 139-149.
Martin, D. J., Gerske, J. P., & Davis, M. K. (2000). Relation of the Therapeutic Alliance With Outcome and Other Variables: A Meta-Analytic Review. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68(3), 438-450. doi:IO.I037//0022-006X.68.3.438