Magazine article Psychology Today

What the Best Therapists Offer Us

Magazine article Psychology Today

What the Best Therapists Offer Us

Article excerpt

THERAPY CAN BE tricky. A patient may hesitate to bring up a particular topic, for example, concerned that it might be off limits. A therapist may neglect to revisit a serious issue raised in an earlier meeting. Successful therapy depends on a level of open inquiry, and the following conditions help make that possible. -GRANTBRENNER, M.D.

WELL-ESTABLISHED RULES

Payment, scheduling, and related policies should be clear from the official outset of therapy. Preferably, a written treatment agreement is reviewed and signed by both parties. The treatment agreement should spell out the obligations and expectations of the person seeking care as well as the clinician. What sort of therapy will the patient be receiving? What are the opportunities for communication outside of appointments? Written agreements aren't intended to be used as leverage; they work best when they serve to build and maintain a solid foundation for care, which requires dialogue, mutuality, and sometimes compromise.

RECOGNITION AND RESPECT

Therapeutic relationships can be viewed as fundamentally lopsided. One person is seeking help; the other Is sought out and paid for providing the service. At the same time, therapists address basic human needs: People in therapy require respect and validation of their experiences. …

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