The communication between a patient / client and the counsellor by its very nature deals with narratives of distress and vulnerability. Therefore, the onus is on the therapist to create a safe space, confidentiality by building an understanding of trust in the relationship.
G R Sitaram, a Gestalt psychotherapist with many years of experience in the field, who is also a master NLP practitioner, counselor and Emotional intelligence coach, lists
“As a therapist it's important to follow certain guidelines before taking up a client intervention, like
Negotiating a contract
Establishing a working relationship
Clarifying and defining problems
Making an assessment
Before taking up the sessions I ensure proper boundaries are set in terms of confidentiality via written agreement.”
Here are two important things to note for people seeking help.
Sort your choices:
Keep an open mind. A therapist need not be someone with fancy degrees or decades of experience. While these may become possible good choices for many, individuals’ need may vary with the preferred choice of therapist.
“Earlier, only a psychiatrist was considered as the most qualified, but today, that’s not true. Trained counselors who are able to completely attend to their patients are able to offer better results. Credentials may not be everything.” Says Smita Rajan, a dance Movement Therapist and Personal Counsellor.
Doing the research:
Many times before you make that first call, patients are encouraged to check out reviews about the said practitioner. While this may be a good idea, it is always not for the best. Many times the idea of one being good and bad is quite subjective. What one can do is gauge the practitioner during the first interaction. Ascertain for themselves.
Do I feel reasonably OK with this person? "Feeling totally comfortable isn't the best criteria, because if you're too comfortable, you're just chit chatting, and that doesn't help you," says Baker.
Is the therapist really listening to me? Is he or she asking enough questions? Especially in the first sessions, the therapist should be asking many questions, to become acquainted with you and the issues you are dealing with.
Has the therapist asked what outcome you want from therapy -- how you want your life to be? How will you know when you get there, if neither the patient nor the therapist has established a goal?
Do you feel satisfied with the therapist's resources? For example, do you have to find your own therapy group? Or is your therapist checking with colleagues about a group appropriate for you?
Does what the therapist says make sense? Does it seem like bad advice? Does it help you or not?
At the end of it all, a good therapist or counsellor is one who helps you gain more self-awareness and empowers you to help yourself. A therapist, a good one, doesn’t give you a fish to satisfy, rather teaches you to fish so that you never go hungry because you can feed yourself.