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Old 11-05-2008, 07:50 PM
 
Location: USA
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see title for question
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Old 11-06-2008, 02:07 PM
 
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Well, in the past, therapists were trained a lot about developing "boundaries" and this whole "throw the questions back at your patients". Now the trend is to be more collaborative, to work together to find solutions. I'm not saying that therapist and patient should be off hanging out at the bowling alley ... there are still appropriate boundaries, but they shouldn't be looking at you askew; they should be helpful, conversational, honest. I would just say that if someone doesn't feel right, find someone else. I tend to think that a large percentage of therapists are just not that great, but maybe 10% are excellent, so do some research. That said, a friend and I once went to the same therapist - she absolutely loved him; I thought he was mediocre, so it's partly a matter of style.
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Old 11-06-2008, 02:14 PM
 
Location: USA
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thank you
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Old 11-06-2008, 02:38 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
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Well, I always laid out my expectations from the beginning and made it clear that I wasn't looking for an endless relationship. I also asked "How can I expect you to help me?" and a lot of other questions. When I felt comfortable with the answers, that's the one I picked. It has to be a good fit. It's a relationship like any other.
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Old 11-06-2008, 04:12 PM
 
Location: USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MommyV View Post
Well, I always laid out my expectations from the beginning and made it clear that I wasn't looking for an endless relationship. I also asked "How can I expect you to help me?" and a lot of other questions. When I felt comfortable with the answers, that's the one I picked. It has to be a good fit. It's a relationship like any other.
relationship? you mean an adult therapist doesn't actually fix anything?
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Old 11-06-2008, 10:16 PM
 
Location: Vermont
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Hi. I'm a therapist (licensed clinical social worker) and I know what I like and do not like in therapists' attitudes and behavior.

My suggestions are professionally informed, but they are still personal opionions. Please take what you want and discard the rest.

1. A therapist should be relatable. You should feel spoken to, not spoken at. Speech should be professional, of course, but conversational. Stilted speech, a negative attitude, condescension and/or a pompous or overstylized demeanor are, to me, red flags. Also be aware of an undercurrent of anger. Ultimately, the healing aspect of therapy is the attuned, empathic relationship, the connection that the client feels with the therapist. Of course, if trust is an issue for you, especially if you have trauma issues, then trust in a therapist takes a long time to develop, often years. That is something you need to respect. A good therapist will understand and respect that and will validate your feelings.

2. Behavioral boundaries are critical and their importance cannot be overemphasized. Boundaries include inappropriate socializing or sexual advances. If a therapist makes sexual advances, or if he or she exhibits any kind of unethical or illegal behavior LEAVE. And then call the state licensing board.

3. A more subtle form of boundary violation is something like emotional invasion. The therapist may, dogmatically and authoritavely, tell you what you feel, or make an interpretation. He or she may treat this as fact. If you question what you have been told, you are accused of resisting therapy. Or worse, your disagreement is treated as a function of your pathology. Now, it is entirely possible that what the therapist said is true, but that you are not ready to hear it. But it is the therapist's job to be sensitive to this and to know when and how much to push and when to hold back. But to discount your beliefs or feelings is to add insult to injury. In certain cases, it can actually traumatize. In any event, this is, in my opinion, behavior that is inappropriately controlling. Worse, it can, even subtly, poison the relationship between client and therapist. Since this relationship is the most important aspect of the therapy, then anything that undermines the relationship undermines the therapy. And then, on top of all this, the therapist can be wrong. Therapists are not mind readers and are certainly not omnicient. In my opionion, it is better if the therapist suggests an interpretation, and does so in a humble way, and then asks the client if this resonates for him or her. By doing this, the therapist can plant a seed of insight, or, if necessary, back off. Meanwhile, the therapist is able to educate the client, in a non-threatening way, about psychodynamics. Observe how the therapist makes interpretations. Observe how the therapist reacts if when you disagree.

3. A therapist is not a blank slate that the client projects his or her own stuff on. To some extent, we try to make it like this as much as possible, but a good therapist knows that we can only do this to a limited degree. A good therapist, in my opinion, will take responsibility for his or her own contribution to the relationship and not throw everything back on the client, as if everything in the relationship is a function of the client's personality and/or pathology. Now, some things do need to be turned back on the client, but again, there are ways to do this and ways not to. The therapist has to decide what to do, how to do it and when. This is what you pay for in therapy. You are paying for the years of training, the knowledge, the experience and, ultimately, the professional judgment. There are reasons why professional therapists need to be licensed.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by arel; 11-06-2008 at 11:13 PM..
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