It is extremely important to inform clients (especially those who are entering into a counseling relationship for the first time) that every therapist will have a different style and approach, and to be encouraged to look for a therapist that best fits their needs and goals. I’ve heard of folks who don’t have a good initial fit with their therapist and end up being discouraged (and never return to therapy), so I like to tell my clients upfront that I’d like them to be honest with me because I want them to feel comfortable working with me. I might add that they give it a chance and commit to a few sessions in a row, just to really see if it is working out for them, but at the end of the day, what I am really trying to inform my clients is that this time is for THEM and I genuinely want them to feel comfortable and safe.
The key is to empower the client in knowing they can make this decision for themselves. In my experience, clients have always been open to this introduction of mine, and I trust it gives them a sense of 1) better understanding of the therapeutic experience and dynamic, 2) a sense of freedom and empowerment, and 3) a trust that I am doing this work for the benefit of my client. In fact, to my last point, I really do feel strongly that I am intentional (or at least, i try my best to be as intentional as possible) in making sure every thing I do and say in the therapy room is for the benefit of my client. If it is not, there is no point in saying it. The purpose of therapy is to benefit the client and partner with them in transforming their lives, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. It should absolutely never be about the therapists’ own motives or feelings of satisfaction for having helped someone. A therapist must always be mindful of this, and focus on the clients’ worldview and the clients’ goals.
For more information, visit: How to choose a therapist