IN THIS EPISODE:
Getting What You Want From Therapy: The Essentials Of A Therapeutic Relationship
Dr. Ann Kelley, Sue Marriott & Patty Olwell chat about the importance of building a strong therapeutic relationship with clients. We’ll discuss how feelings of love, hate, disappointment, excitement and more between a therapist and a patient are not only normal, but even potentially essential to working towards healing. They break-down counter-transference and how mutual influence works to help clients grow.
0:00-0:27 Intro Questions
0:27- Possibilities for Therapist-Client relationship (potential for harm from power differential in the relationship OR neural sculpting) – When choosing a therapist, be prepared to be changed by this new relationship. Therapists are permanently changed once attached to clients – mutual sculpting
1:53 –Old analytic model of psychotherapy – therapist as flat, neutral agent. Therapist actually can influence the client. Relationship as we know it now is not unidirectional – the most healing agent is the relationship in psychotherapy.
2:30 – How to pick a therapist – interview several
2:54 – What to do if you’re experiencing love, hate, disappointment, excitement, etc. in a relationship with your therapist The General Theory of Love – it’s normal to feel these feelings and it also may be essential to the healing agent
4:36 – Now that you understand these feelings are normal – what next? Talk about them with your therapist – express your feelings, then let process begin – However this experience may be regressive and if the therapist isn’t willing to help you may have to move on
6:44 – How to discern when emotional events are part of the therapeutic process of working through past trauma or when it’s harmful and retraumatizing
Hope to have a different outcome than in the past – We can learn that we have difficult feelings or conflicts but it doesn’t have to end the relationship. It is possible to talk about and process these feelings with your therapist.
8:22 Discerning between healthy and unhealthy emotions in relationship Openness & willingness to talk through – Discomfort is part of journey towards healing
9:20 – Difference between feeling uncomfortable and actually being unsafe – Nesting Dolls – Problem of acting or thinking a certain way only around therapist versus outside the office
11:00 – Feeling safe, then feeling vulnerable when seeking advice in therapy
11:57 – Therapists need to follow the clients lead when someone comes in seeking career advice or a quick fix for a problem – If client isn’t ready or interested in deep processing we can move as quickly or as slowly as they need.
13:05 – Therapists want patients to find answer themselves, but often also want to be helpful – problem of giving/expecting advice
14:37 – Counter-transference – Therapists feelings get brought up – Therapy as an interpersonal dance
20:30 – Sue’s anecdote about the pay less price tag – compared to being in a family where you can’t name the embarrassing/traumatizing element in your life
22:31 – See therapist in a way that allows client to express emotions
27:00 – Empathy in therapists – don’t want to deny clients the power position in power differential
27:51 – As a client there’s a felt need to not have to take care of therapist in terms – expectation of a certain level of maturity, experience, intelligence, etc. ; have a bigger, stronger other that allows you to be “messy”
28:30 – How and why a boundary is important in a therapeutic relationship – need to feel safe – Frame (time, space, money) – Frame will not be broken
31:03 – Wrap up: All these thoughts & feelings are acceptable – Talk about them with therapist and if they can’t handle it then consider a new one – but first tell your therapist you’re frustrated and you’re looking for a new one, don’t just fire them – There’s a potential to deepen the relationship
33:10 – Sometimes what is evoked in you is a feeling of shame – shame is critical to psychotherapy, particularly in the therapeutic hour – Sometimes something is evoked in the therapist
34:45 – Therapists can certainly bring in baggage, but pay close attention to how baggage fits into relationship rather than letting the baggage act/be evoked on its own – The growing edge and developing trust
35:32 – Cozolino & Phil Bromberg – desire to stay the same AND change – the goal is to express feelings but in a safe container
38:02 – Outro
Additional resources for this episode:
- Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, Richard Lannon:A General Theory of Love 2000
- Louis Cozolino:The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Healing the Social Brain (Third Edition) (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology) 2017
- Louis Cozolino: Why Therapy Works: Using Our Minds to Change Our Brains (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology) 2015
- Philip Bromberg:The Shadow of the Tsunami: and the Growth of the Relational Mind 2011
- These and other resources have been collected for you on our Resources page!