Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What Works/Doesn't Work for me in the "Therapeutic Relationship"

The past few months have been a struggle for me in therapy. After my recent conversation with PDOC, I realize I need to take a stand IN PERSON, and either come to some agreeable terms, or agree to terminate therapy with my current therapist. I decided that I need to take a stand in “MY” healing process, and really state what I NEED from Dear Therapist. So after spending some time pulling my thoughts together, putting down on paper my thoughts of what works and what doesn’t work for me in this process, I came up with the following list.

Respect me as an individual and not a diagnosis
Validate my feelings – be warm and caring
Trustworthy and open with communication ~ if something needs to be changed, or you don’t think something is working, COMMUNICATE with me
Be genuine and real~ don’t be afraid to call me out about something I am doing that is harmful or non-productive
Focus on the WHY and not the SYMPTOMS (what’s the underlying problem – that is causing the symptoms?)
Ethical, sensitive and tuned in
Ask questions, push me when I am stalling, encourage me and be supportive, engage me
Communicate with me (within reasonable boundaries) – if I hurt your feelings or offend you, or if there’s something going on w/you that is impacting “our” relationship.
Availability via phone, text, email ~ within reason
Be willing to work WITH me, not AGAINST me
Be honest with me about your “therapeutic approach” and “boundaries” ~ I’m smart! If I don’t understand something I will ask you!

A therapist that hears me but doesn’t LISTEN
Too professional and by the books
Does not validate my feelings
Is non-communicative with respect to MY treatment
A therapist who is SILENT
A therapist on a power kick who views me as a paycheck
A therapist who does not follow through on what she says she’ll do, or drops the ball
Unwilling to negotiate what is and is not working
A therapist who only nods or paraphrases – “standing still” therapy does NOT work for me
A therapist who is dismissive
A therapist who labels me, or talks in circles without really saying anything
Unclear boundaries, not ‘agreed’ upon – blurred. I cannot respect what I am not aware of
A therapist who will not admit or apologize for mistakes
A therapist who is a blank screen
A therapist who only believes in ‘tough love’ or ‘containment’

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