Monday, April 16, 2018

Your 1st Therapy Session and Soon Thereafter

Is it a Good FIT? And is a Therapist's Connection to you that Important? Yes!

Teamwork, Fit Together, Together
I made a joke about this article 7 Things You Should Know Before Your First Therapy Appointment. The joke was that the article saved me 10 minutes of time and that it saved a new client 30 minutes of their time.  Frankly, that was an understatement. If a new client were to read this article and understand it, it might save them about 450 minutes and about $1750.  Working with new clients is a delicate relationship. Out of 10 clients, I would say nine have sought ...
services due to a glitch or problem in their life or their relationship.  Thus, the client is asking me to support them or to solve a problem which might be an intangible event or circumstance. In my practice, the most common intangibles center around communication, or relating to others, or some type of addiction, or low self-esteem resulting from historical events.  You cannot hold or touch these objects. The complexity is that in order to grab onto these objects I have to get close and intimate with the client. Most clients don’t understand this intimacy. This could mean knowing your net worth, or knowing your vulnerabilities, knowing your childhood traumas,  and knowing your perceived moral ills. To show your Achilles heel.

Leave, Brick, Old, Wall, Architecture, Building, Empty
Moreover, this means the client must risk divulging perceived secrets only to be judged. Unknowingly, many clients do not realize that as a trained psychodynamic analyst from a jungian orientation I am not capable of  judging someone’s behavior because my belief system is that all behaviors are rooted from the Psyche. Thus, we all have actions and behaviors that birth from the collective unconscious.  The ills that a client does has been done before and we are all capable of the same behaviors given different circumstances. Meaning, we as a group have behaviors that we have seen and done before.  As difficult as this might be to conceptualize, many of us have not been challenged with the very events or character flaws which we might hate in others. We just have not been in that situation that presents itself.  The things we judge or hate in others are the very things we fear doing.

Face, Faces, Dialogue, Talk, Psyche
So the first item of above mentioned article states the relationship and therapist’s “fit.”  The fit is what makes or breaks the work between the therapist and client. I have had women dismiss working with me as they perceive (perhaps justly) that they will connect better with a female therapist.  They might not know that one of my first jobs as an intern therapist was working with teen mothers and pregnant adolescents. They might not understand that the healing process from a trauma or divorce might be better suited from a clinician of the opposite sex.  Furthermore, my having the same ethnicity, sex, socioeconomic status, and age as a client might not mean that we “fit” if our typology is not similar. The client often does not know that they have a task to question their therapist early on if their therapist is in error of an interpretation or a perception.  I could perceive that a smile is a form of bonding; however, I might miss the cue that is is a shield of distance and diplomacy. Analyst/Analysand or Client/therapist relationships are complex.

Psychologist Therapy Problems Ill Doctor P
These early relationships determine the outcome of therapy.  Going off referrals is tricky. So, I agree with the article in that you should not solely rely on referrals.  What worked for your friend or your coworker “might” not work for you. I find referrals often can be successful; but, not always.  One can be the best therapist for that one person but not good for another. Because of online access, many clinicians have more information on their website disclosing their background, work history, orientations.  However, don’t let that distract the main objective of having a connection. This must happen for good work to occur. I also do not think an emphasis should be placed on fees. That is hard to accept but it is true. Fees are not a factor in connection. Or in good resolve in the decision process of hiring a therapist.  Often I am asked about fees in the first question. A therapist offering $50 or a therapist offering $250 means nothing. Of course, if you make $24,000 annually paying $250 a session for six months is inappropriate (assuming you have no other assets or incomes). But, in my practice, if a client comes to me and is unable to afford my fee I am personally interested in having a connection with this person even though they are not my client.  I have no problem trying to support the person without making them a client. From my recollection, if the person is willing, I have always tried to connect them to a clinician or group that will provide them with the proper “fit.” So, I might not always succeed but my primary goal in the first few sessions is making sure “We” are a good fit. Next week, we will discuss how we can connect the “fit.” - That is the idea of consultations and first meetings.

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