- The therapeutic relationship is a professional relationship.
No matter how likable and relatable a therapist is, the professional nature of the relationship is what makes it unique when we compare it to familial relationships and friendships. Professionalism contributes to its benefits for providers and clients/patients alike. The hope is that the interactions between therapist and client/patient are less fraught with biases, allowing people to explore parts of their self-narratives and experiences in ways that allow for growth and living in a way that is aligned with their values. Professionalism does not take away the authenticity and human connection needed to experience the transformative aspects of the therapeutic process. All are important.
- Therapists are people too.
Like everyone, some days your therapist may be a bit tired, not feeling well, or simply doing their best to be present in an effort to not allow personal stuff to interfere with work. And although some may say therapy is a judgment-free zone, therapists have biases too. The difference between therapists and some people who are not therapists is that it is part of their job to recognize when their own stuff is getting in the way of being able to support clients/patients.
- You bring so much to each session.
Know that you come with so much information already, and your therapist has the opportunity to help you make sense of some of that information, help clarify how you want to be in this life, and support you through practicing actionable steps to live the life you want. Voice your concerns when you have them, challenge moments in session when your gut is telling you to, and know that you have power when it comes to how you care for yourself.
- Sometimes it’s just not a good fit.
That’s okay. You are allowed to work with a therapist who is a better match for your needs. Your health is way more important than your therapist’s ego. And if you choose to shop around, be real with yourself about the reasons your therapist was not a good fit and consider if those reasons show up in other relationships in your life.