Psychotherapy is a process of compassionate witnessing and support. The therapist and the client work together in this process. The client is either experiencing a difficulty in his/her life or wants to experience an inner journey. In thisprocess the therapist listens to the client nonjudgmentally and does his/her best to understand the client’s experience. The therapist intends to create a space for the person where s/he can be her/himself. To do this the therapist uses empathy, compassion and techniques that are associated with his/her approach.
The length of therapy sessions depends on the approach. It is usually between 50-90 minutes. In the first session the therapist informs the client about the frequency and length of the sessions and about the nature of the therapy process.
The content of the session is confidential unless the therapist has an opinion and/or knowledge that the client may harm him/herself or somebody else. The therapist is required to inform authorities and significant others in this situation. The therapist also informs authorities and parents if a child is under the risk of harm or if a child is being harmed. Sometimes the therapist may receive consultation from colleges without providing identifying information. For all other sharing the therapist needs to ask for permission of the client.
The client pays after each session. The client has the right to stop therapywhenever s/he wants and decides to do so. Thus therapy is never sold as apackage of four or eight (or any number).
The first session is an opportunity for the client to assess and evaluate the therapist. The client can ask him/herself the following questions:
Is this therapist competent? Does s/he have the education and trainingnecessary to help me?
Can I trust this therapist?
Do I want to share my story with this therapist?
Am I in peace with the approach and perspective of the therapist?
Does the therapist answer the questions related to his/her education openly and clearly without getting defensive?
Do I think that this therapist understands me or has the potential to understand me?
Does the therapist respect me?
Does the therapist judge me?
Do I feel comfortable around this therapist or do I see a potential for myself to feel comfortable around this therapist?
If the client doesn’t feel good about his/her therapist it is a good idea to look for an other therapist. Choosing a therapist is choosing a partner in healing!