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Re: Gardenergirl, may I ask a question?

Posted by gardenergirl on March 6, 2004, at 23:00:20

In reply to Gardenergirl, may I ask a question?, posted by Dinah on March 5, 2004, at 12:50:04

Okay, I have been thinking about this, and I also looked back in my notes from Psychodynamics. I feel a bit like I am writing an essay for class :-)

First, let me share what I know my supervisor would say. He would say that nobobdy *needs* anyone to like them or to not be angry with them. That is an irrational belief. He is a true CBTer. This kind of statement drives me nuts, and we often debate.

Here's what I found in my notes:

There are really three aspects to the relationship between a T and a client.

First, there is the therapeutic relationship, also called the working alliance. There are several components to this without which the therapy cannot work. The T must be reliable, steady, reasonable, fair, kind, tolerant, non-judgemental, and non-corruptible. Empathy, of course, is the key, IMO. It seems to me that it is within this relationship that the client does not need to make sure the T likes him or her or does not need to worry about the T being angry. I am a big believer in unconditional positive regard. I try to find something likeable about every client I see, even if they are hard to like for whatever reason. It is in this way that I can truly like all of my clients. In addition, if I am angry, it is up to me to remain unconditional with the client. I think in this way, it's okay for the client to be who they are without worrying about the T's feelings of anger or like/dislike. Does that make sense? I think of this as a valid relationship. You could think of it as an "as-if" in that not everyone you meet IRL will always be unconditional. In my life, I think of only a few close friends, my husband, and my T as caring about me unconditionally.

The second kind of relationship is the transference relationship and any counter-transference. I won't go into detail here because it has been covered so much in other threads.

The third part of the T/client relationship is the real relationship. Both the T and the client bring internal things about them like persoanlity, values, styles, etc. In addition, there are external things like race, age, appearance, health, gender, etc. which also contribute to the real relationship. By this I mean that whether or not you "click" with the T may have as much or more to do with the real relationship than the therapeutic. Most of us prefer to be open with someone more like ourselves, as it feels somewhat safer. It is within this aspect that I think that I bring genuine caring about my clients. I like to think that most T's would agree. Someone earlier posted that T's don't *have* to say positive things if they are not true. I have also had a client say that to me, "but you *have* to say that!" My response is always, "no I don't." I do genuinely care about all of my clients. I think it goes along with caring about people in general. But also, I recognize what a gift it is to me that the client is willing to trust me enough to share their "stuff" with me, especially as it is often scary and painful.

So, Dinah, I guess my short answer to your question is that is is both an "as-if" relationship in that you can try out giving up a number of defenses without fear of consequences or repercussions that may occur IRL with people who have their own defenses and stuff. But there is also the real relationship within genuine caring, including missing the client after termination and enjoyment of working with the client exists.

Hope this helps and is not too rambling.





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