Do you take me to be your therapist?
Do I take you to be my client?
Although we are not reciting wedding vows, I believe therapy is a commitment. I would like to discuss a little about the therapist and client relationship and the importance of commitment on both ends.
As a therapist we are committed to a client’s mental health, safety, treatment goals, providing referrals, and ensure ethical treatment. Whether you go to therapy 1 time or for 50 years, this is our job. As a client, I believe it is important to be aware of yourself and what you want. I always ask my clients if they previously received any treatment in mental health or if they did not. If they did, I ask them to write a list of what they liked about therapy, what they did not, and what they want now. If they had not received therapy, then I ask them to write what they want from therapy now. I believe it is a team effort to work together in order to ensure a client is getting exactly what they want out of their treatment. If you are a client, it is important for you to understand that you are the one driving your goals for therapy sessions. It is important to understand that if you do not come to therapy consistently and put in the work, you will most likely not get much from it. Therapy is beneficial when a client is engaged and ready to work on the things they want. It is a commitment of time each week to show up and work on oneself. Just like in any healthy relationship, it is important to be honest and assertive with your therapist. Clients: tell your therapist if you do not agree with them, tell them you didn’t like that article they gave you, tell them this approach isn’t working. You need to give them this feedback to not only assert yourself, but also so you get exactly what you want from your treatment. Picture this metaphor to understand the dynamic between the therapist and client: The therapist is driving the vehicle. They oversee ensuring the safety of those in the vehicle. You, the client, are in the passenger seat, giving the driving directions to them. You are letting them know where to go in order to arrive at the destination you desire. The destination for each client is different. As a client, think about where you want to go, and who you trust with driving you there. What are your goals? Who do you choose to ensure your safety and trust in getting you there?
Create, educate, inspire.
Katrina Kurtz, MA., LCPC, ATR