Research shows that the therapeutic alliance, the bond between a therapist and a client, is a strong predictor of how successful therapy outcomes will be. The stronger the therapeutic alliance, the more likely the client is to accomplish his or her therapy goals. One main component of the therapeutic alliance is trust. However, placing your trust in a therapist can be difficult and uncomfortable at first for a variety of reasons.
There are many reasons why you may initially be wary of the counseling process. For one, you are telling a complete stranger about deeply personal issues. Depending on the issue, you may fear judgement or feel embarrassed or ashamed. You also may have had your trust broken by people you thought were loyal and trustworthy in the past. For these reasons, and maybe others, you may struggle to open up to your counselor initially.
Counselors go through a great deal of training to offer a non-judgmental and empathetic ear as you process through your issues. Therapy will move at the pace you are comfortable with, and you should never be pushed to open up about issues you don’t feel ready to talk about yet. Confidentiality is a part of a counselor’s code of ethics that requires him or her to keep your discussions private. Confidentiality has limitations, which your counselor should review with you before you agree to begin therapy. These limitations include if you threaten to hurt yourself or someone else, and if child or elder abuse is reported.
Knowing that counselors are trained in using an empathetic and non-judgmental approach and have to abide by confidentiality laws will hopefully ease some of the hesitancies you may have had about opening up to your therapist. If you are still wary of the counseling process, I suggest you discuss your fears and discomforts with your counselor directly.
If you are searching for a new therapist, consider contacting The Light Program today. We offer a variety of locations throughout Pennsylvania.
Ardito, R. B., & Rabellino, D. (2011). Therapeutic Alliance and Outcome of Psychotherapy: Historical Excursus, Measurements, and Prospects for Research. Frontiers in Psychology, 2, 270. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2011.0027