The process and experience of a psychotherapeutic relationship are different than all other relationships in one’s life. The focus is on the individual seeking therapy and all that their life encompasses. The emphasis is on developing an improved, fuller, richer, and more satisfying relationship with oneself.
People often seek therapy because of a specific difficulty they are experiencing in life, whether personal, work, or family related. Some people experience feelings that are troublesome or confusing and have difficulty understanding how to cope with or resolve them. Other people come to therapy because they are interested and curious about themselves and would like a private space to explore thoughts and feelings that they cannot discuss with others in their social world.
Psychotherapy can be immensely helpful in a variety of areas: understanding one’s unique personal history, how we are shaped by the history of our childhood and early development, one’s current and past relationships, and the contexts in which they exist. Psychotherapy can help in understanding how one thinks, feels, and relates to one’s financial life, career development, family life, peers, and the future. Additionally, it helps one make thoughtful choices, as well as, address a multitude of other personal challenges.
The therapeutic dialogue is a means of sorting through, understanding, and integrating the unique aspects of ourselves. This often results in: increased self-awareness and insight, personal growth, increased life satisfaction, and a resolution of conflicts. Furthermore, it can decrease troublesome symptoms one often experiences as a result of the stress imposed upon the body and the mind. These symptoms often interfere with functioning in a healthy, productive, and meaningful way in the world.
An essential ingredient of this process is the relationship between the two people engaging in it. The match between them is as personal and unique as a thumbprint. Comfort, trust, a genuine connection, and feeling understood with a therapist is a good sign it is a match. The privacy of this relationship should allow for a sharing of the most vulnerable aspects of oneself, and make this available for conversation. Evaluating how you feel with any therapist on these dimensions is important.