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Create a Strong Therapeutic Alliance By Asking Your Therapist These Nine Questions

Good therapy encourages the client’s ability and progress. How do we measure good therapy? For starters, a therapeutic alliance is key.

In 1913, Sigmund Freud hypothesized that the alliance between the therapist and patient was the foundation of a successful treatment.

What is a therapeutic alliance?  A therapeutic alliance is an interpersonal relationship fulfilled by interactions, bonds, and motive. This phenomenon is correlated with better therapeutic outcomes.

Before revealing the vault that keeps your deepest secrets and darkest memories, we recommend evaluating and assimilating for interpersonal therapeutic relationships.

Nine Personal Questions To Ask Your New Therapist

Let’s get into it:

  1. How do your spiritual/ religious views affect your therapy approach?
  2. Did you enjoy your childhood and relationship with your parents?
  3. Are you currently in a (happy?) relationship?
  4. Are you a parent (if yes what is their parenting style) ?
  5. Have you personally gone through what I am going through?
  6. What is your education and training?
  7. How much experience do you have in treating my concerns and discovering underlying issues?
  8. What are your core belief systems?
  9. What are your top values?

Why are these questions important? Psychotherapy requires a significant investment of time, emotions and money and a good therapeutic alliance is crucial.

Research Shows a Therapeutic Relationship is an Essential Predictor of a Successful Treatment

At the beginning phases of therapy, the client’s confidence in their therapist is the foundation to a strong alliance. They trust that the therapist has the knowledge, skill set, and desire to provide personalized treatments.

Let’s consider the following scenarios to support this further.

Your spouse does not contribute to any housework or chaperoning your children so you are seeking marriage therapy. A therapist with (internalized) misogyny will not be effective in truly understanding your concern. However, a therapist with women’s right views or feminist ideologies would be most effective in understanding that your problems are manifestations of patriarchal oppression.

Here is another scenario. You are seeking a child psychologist so your search is prioritized by expertise in child psychology. Do you consider that a stronger bond would be formed if the psychologist was also a parent or endured somewhat of a healthy adolescence? When it comes to child psychology, it is particularly crucial that you understand the relationships and bonds the therapist has created.

In the next section, we will uncover ingredients of a good working alliance and the collaborative bond between the therapist and patient.

The Working Alliance

The working alliance is an essential component of the therapeutic relationship and is prevalent in achieving the goal. It is best defined as a collaborative and affective bond between the therapist and their patient. A reciprocal relationship is important here.

Bordin (1979) defined the working alliance in three sections:

  • Tasks: steps, methods, and techniques that need to be actioned to reach the patient’s goals.
  • Goals: The goal the client wants to achieve from their therapy journey
  • Bond: Trust and confidence that the tasks and treatment plan will lead the client towards a positive outcome.

In summary, research and data confirms that there are positive associations between good alliance ratings and therapy outcomes across a variety of therapy approaches. In the same studies, evidence points that the patient’s assessment is the most effective predictor of the outcome of psychotherapy.

Resources To Speed Up Your Evaluation

Evaluate your potential therapist by asking these questions during the initial consultation, virtually.

Most therapists offer a free, brief initial consultation by phone, in person, or video. If you are looking for the convenience of video consultation or the freedom to book online 24/7, look for a practice that offers a Mental Health Software. Here, you can read bio’s, reviews, and match with the skill level of the therapist to create a better alliance.

In Summary

To overcome the power inequality and create a mutual bond, it is important to ask these nine personal questions.

Positive therapy outcomes are dependent on the bond between the mental health professional and patient. Interactive communication is essential, where symmetry between the patient and therapist is the true driver of treatment.

A therapist-patient relationship is sacred. To achieve interactive communication and the best working alliance, it is essential to select a therapist that is the right fit for you.

Remember, it takes time to build the bond that the therapeutic alliance needs. For this, we  recommend re-evaluating the answers as your therapy alliance progresses.

What additional information is important to you when searching for a therapist?

Author’s Bio: Taraneh Nasseri is a content creator and product marketer for Yocale Network Corp. When she is not delving into the creativity of research and writing, she enjoys attending events benefiting the mental health movement.

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